The family of the 18-year-old Palestinian shot dead by the Israeli military during protests on the Gaza strip has denied he was a member of Islamist militant group Hamas. Video captures the moment Abdel Fattah Abd al-Nabi is shot by an Israeli sniper in the back as he runs through no-man’s-land on Friday carrying a tyre.
The Israeli Defence Force has defended its actions and called the footage ‘Hamas propaganda’ after it went viral. It comes as Palestine officials report that another man has been killed by Israeli forces at the Gaza border today, taking the death toll from several days of mass protests to 19 people. The IDF claims the video had been edited and does not show al-Nabi’s potentially provocative actions before he was killed. But the teenager’s family claim he was unarmed. ‘He had no gun, no Molotov, a tyre. Does that harm the Israelis, a tyre?’ his brother Mohamed al-Nabi, 22, told the Washington Post. ‘He wasn’t going toward the Israeli side. He was running away.
A statement released on by the IDF reads: ‘During yesterday’s violent riots and terrorist attacks, IDF troops faced gunshots, infiltration attempts, damage to security infrastructure, firebombs, rocks and rolling burning tyres. ‘The IDF operated in strict accordance with the rules of engagement, firing only when necessary and avoiding civilians strategically placed by Hamas in harm’s way.’ While not denying that al-Nabi was shot in the back as he ran away from the Israeli border, an IDF spokesperson ‘noted that the video in question was edited and did not show the period immediately before a-Nabi was shot’.
The IDF also said that ten of the 18 people killed as a result of Friday’s violence were members of the Qassam Brigades the armed wing of Hamas and included Al-Nabi on their list. However, the list of martyrs published by Hamas themselves carries only five names, none of which is Al-Nabi’s. This has also been vehemently denied by the al-Nabi family, who say he ‘was not involved in any military activity with the Qassam Brigades or anyone else’. ‘He was a child, like any other child,’ his father Bahjat al-Nabi told The Telegraph. ‘This is the Israeli plan of making it look like the dead had rifles but actually they are murderers and the dead are the victims.’
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