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19-year-old shot and killed by Israeli forces in Burin

3rd February 2015 | International Solidarity Movement, Nablus Team | Burin, Occupied Palestine      

On the evening of January 31, 2015, Israeli soldiers shot and killed Ahmad Ibrahim Najar, a 19-year-old Palestinian from the village of Burin (Nablus region). In the attack, Israeli forces also injured 18-year-old Mohammed Raed Asaos. Mohammed and a third man, Abdulrahman Najar, 19 years old, have been arrested by Israeli forces.

The three young men were beside the settler road outside their village of Burin when the army opened fire. Israeli soldiers were present at the road before they arrived, patrolling the area. The soldiers opened fire with live ammunition, shooting Ahmad Najar in the face and Mohammed Asaos in his side. Najar’s wounds were fatal. After the shooting, the two surviving men escaped to Burin. The village was immediately declared a closed military zone as Israeli forces raided the Burin in search of the two men, who were eventually found and arrested in their family homes. The Israeli army claims that the men were throwing Molotov cocktails at the road.

Ahmad Najar’s body was initially taken by Israeli forces, and only released to Palestinian jurisdiction later in the night. His funeral, attended by around 1000 Palestinians, was held the morning of Feburary 1st. Hundreds of women cried together, as the men of the village carried and followed Ahmad’s body from the car to his family home one last time, to the village mosque, and finally to the cemetery.

As the community mourned their loss in an immense outpouring of grief, three Israeli military helicopters circled in the skies overhead. Overwhelmed by shock and sadness at their son’s murder, Ahmad’s father and mother passed out in the arms of friends, who poured water on their pained faces to revive them.

After his funeral, trails of friends and community members walked to the road where Ahmad was shot, taking moments to commemorate his life and death. His blood still stained the white rocks of the road beside a crumpled white Israeli body bag. Not long after the streams of people started arriving at the site, three Israeli soldiers arrived and escorted the mourners away, standing at the entrance of the road to ensure no more visitors were allowed, preventing them from paying their respects at the site of Ahmad’s death.

Israeli military say the incident is currently under investigation. The Israeli army justifies shooting live ammunition at Palestinians by claiming these attacks “prevent” attacks on Israelis living in illegal settlements. However, it is evident from Ahmed’s death that the force used by Israeli authorities was disproportionate to any that could possibly be necessary to ‘’prevent’ any perceived threat or attack from occurring. Ahmed was shot directly in his face, the live bullet exiting through the back of his neck.