Video: Crime scene manipulated after Hebron killing, possibly disproving claims by Israeli soldier
Israeli soldiers stand guard near the site where a Palestinian attempted to stab a soldier before being shot dead in the West Bank city of Hebron on Oct. 28, 2015. (AFP/Hazem Bader, File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- New video footage has surfaced of an Israeli ambulance driver kicking a knife towards the body of Abd al-Fattah al-Sharif, a young Palestinian whose execution-style murder by an Israeli soldier in March was caught on video, sparking international outrage.
The video footage, obtained by Israel's Channel Two, is expected to be shown to an Israeli military court to disprove claims by the Israeli soldier who killed al-Sharif that he shot the young Palestinian point-blank in the head after al-Sharif moved to grab a knife, according to the Israeli media outlet Ynet.
The footage shows that the knife allegedly used in the attack was far from al-Sharif when he was shot, notably showing an ambulance driving over the knife before it was kicked closer to al-Sharif’s body.
The Israeli military prosecutor reportedly said that an Israeli ambulance driver, Ofer Ohanna, who was near the scene kicked the knife towards al-Sharif’s body following his murder, according to Hebrew-language news outlet Maariv.
Maariv reported that Ohanna refused to speak to the media, and said he gave the military prosecution all the information he had on the incident during interrogations.
Israeli human rights group B’Tselem released footage of al-Sharif's execution by Israeli soldier Elor Azarya in March, showing the placement of the knife far from al-Sharif’s body.
However, the new video reportedly shows what transgressed immediately after the ambulance drove by the scene, with an Israeli ambulance driver directly manipulating the crime scene shortly after the shooting by moving the knife closer to al-Sharif.
A spokesperson for B'Tselem could not immediately be reached for comment.
Al-Sharif was shot alongside Ramzi Aziz al-Qasrawi after the two Palestinians allegedly stabbed and moderately wounded an Israeli soldier at a military checkpoint in the Tel Rumeida area of Hebron on March 24.
Al-Qasrawi was killed immediately, while al-Sharif was left severely wounded for several minutes without treatment, before Azarya stepped forward and put a bullet through his head, killing him.
A graphic video released by B’Tselem capturing the incident was met with wide condemnation from rights groups and international bodies, with the UN demanding an investigation into the apparent "extrajudicial execution."
Azarya was charged with manslaughter, rather than murder as had initially been expected, and is being held on a military base in “open detention” where he is free to roam and has received visits from his family. His trial opened in early May.
Palestinians have long held fears that Israeli soldiers and settlers tamper with crime scenes involving Palestinians, with human rights groups accusing Israel of practicing a policy of extrajudicial executions since a wave of violence erupted in October, leaving more than 200 Palestinians and nearly 30 Israelis killed.