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Friday, January 25, 2013

A small detail about an "eyewitness" to an IDF shooting

On Wednesday, Ha'aretz reported:
Military police investigators are looking into the circumstances of the shooting death Wednesday of a 21-year-old Bethlehem woman, Lubnah Hanash. The IDF Spokesman declined to say whether Hanash, who is the first woman killed by IDF fire in the West Bank since April 2007, had been targeted in the shooting.

The IDF confirmed the incident, saying an initial investigation revealed that an army squad was ambushed by firebombs and rocks on Highway 60 near the Al-Aroub refugee camp and opened fire, fearing for their lives. Hanash was allegedly killed by an Israel Defense Forces officer at about 2 P.M. on a stretch of Route 60 in the West Bank between Bethlehem and Hebron.

According to a deputy commander of the Judea regional brigade, Shahar Matana, the incident occurred when he and another IDF officer were on their way from Jerusalem to Hebron. Matana said a group of young people threw Molotov cocktails at him from the side of the highway near the Al-Aroub refugee camp. The two officers left their car and one of them allegedly opened fire while the other gave chase after the young people.

Hanash, a university student from a refugee camp in Bethlehem, was critically injured and died in surgery at a Hebron hospital. Another young woman was also shot and lightly wounded in the incident. The two were on their way from a college near the highway and apparently planned to catch a bus home.

An eyewitness who lives near the highway told Haaretz that he had been at home when he heard shooting and went outside, where he saw the two officers, neither of whom was wearing a flak jacket or helmet. The witness, who reported that he did not see Hanash being shot, said one of the soldiers fired his weapon while the other gave chase.
Ma'an interviewed the injured woman, who insisted that there were no rocks, no firebombs, and nobody else around:
"I saw an Israeli soldier on the main road firing gunshots haphazardly, so I put my left hand on Lubna's back, and grabbed her to try and run backward. A gunshot hit my hand, and I shouted as I ran.

"I thought Lubna was running behind me until I reached the security guards of Al-Arrub College who took me to a clinic in the camp before an ambulance arrived and took me to hospital."

This, says Suad Jaara, 28, is what she witnessed Wednesday afternoon when Israeli officers near al-Arrub refugee camp shot her and her friend Lubna al-Hanash. Lubna, 22, died hours later.

Speaking to Ma'an, Jaara said Thursday that she and Lubna were walking on the campus of Al-Arrub College about 100 meters from the main road when they came under fire.

"An Israeli soldier was shooting from his rifle while a white car was parked on the roadside. There was nobody in the area except Lubna and I. He was a criminal ... yes, a criminal who opened fired at us in cold blood killing Lubna and injuring me.”

Jaara's testimony contradicts claims by the Israeli army’s chief of central command on Channel 10 Wednesday evening that the woman was trying to hurl a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli vehicle.

An army spokeswoman also told Ma'an on Wednesday that "soldiers were attacked by Palestinians who hurled multiple firebombs at them while they were traveling near al-Arrub. Soldiers returned fire and the circumstances of the incident are currently being reviewed."

But Jaara says she and her late friend were the only ones in the area, walking around and enjoying the scenery.
So who is more believable?

The last part of the Ma'an article gives us a clue:
Jaara is an employee at the Ministry of Prisoners Affairs. Her brother Jihad was a gunman in Fatah's al-Aqsa Brigades in the Bethlehem area. He was deported to Ireland after the Nativity Church siege in 2002.
But someone whose family has known terrorists and who works for one of the most anti-Israel organizations in the territories wouldn't lie, would she?

(Kudos to Ma'an for at least mentioning that, albeit in the last paragraph.)