An injured Palestinian man lying on the road before being shot in the head by an Israeli soldier was not already dying from his injuries, an autopsy has revealed.
Abed Fattah al-Sharif had been immobilised by several bullets to his chest, arm, shoulder and lower body, after trying to stab an Israeli soldier, but he was only killed when another Israeli soldier shot him in the head from close range with a rifle, several minutes after the incident, and with ambulance crews on standby.
“The heart and main arteries were complete and therefore it is clear that the bullet to the head caused death because his entire skull was smashed,” said Dr. Ryan Alali, director of pathology at the forensic institute at An Najah University in Nablus.
The 24 March incident – captured on video and published by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem – has caused heated debate in Israel, where the soldier in question has been detained, but where polls show most Israelis feel he should be released.
Although his name has been widely circulated on social media, where he is being hailed as “a hero,” the soldier’s identity is subject to a gagging order by Israeli military censors.
Reaction around the world has been one of shock and disgust at the aftermath of the stabbing incident, during which the wounded man received no medical attention by ambulance crews, who were present at the scene. Minutes later, when the soldier shoots al-Sharif in the head, there is no reaction from the dozen or so soldiers and medics on-site.
“The results prove that what the entire world saw and knows: the shot was fired deliberately, with the intent to kill,” said the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club.