A senior UN official has said Israel’s killing of a Palestinian wheelchair user protesting against Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was “incomprehensible”, as Israel said the man had not been targeted.
A statement issued by Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh was shot in the head by Israeli security forces close to the Gaza border fence on Friday.
Hussein said there was nothing to suggest Abu Thurayeh posed an imminent threat when he was killed, and “the facts gathered so far by my staff in Gaza strongly suggest that the force used against [him] was excessive”.
The statement said: “Given his severe disability, which must have been clearly visible to those who shot him, his killing is incomprehensible – a truly shocking and wanton act.”
The Israeli military said its own investigation had found it was not possible to say what had killed Abu Thurayeh and that no live fire had been directed at him during the dispersal of the violent demonstration.
“No live fire was aimed at Abu Thurayeh. It is impossible to determine whether Abu Thurayeh was injured as a result of riot dispersal means, or what caused his death,” part of the military statement said.
It said protesters hurled explosive devices and rocks and rolled burning tyres “with the aim of harming soldiers and destroying security infrastructure”, and that its forces mainly used non-lethal riot dispersal means, although a few live rounds fired under supervision were aimed “towards main instigators”.
The military statement said “numerous requests” for information on Abu Thurayeh’s wounds had not been answered by Palestinian officials. “If additional details are received, they will be examined and studied,” it said.