RAMALLAH, Wednesday, October 23, 2019 (WAFA) – A team of British forensic researchers confirmed this week that contrary to Israeli army reports 9-year-old Abd el-Rahman Yasir Shtawi was shot in the head on July 12 in Kufr Qaddoum in the north of the West Bank by a live bullet fired by Israeli soldiers and not by a rubber bullet, according to a press release by International Solidarity Movement (ISM).
Shtawi was shot in the head while sitting outside his friend’s house during a protest in his village. He sustained severe brain damage and remains hospitalized more than three months after the shooting. The Israeli army claimed that soldiers did not use live fire that day and that Shtawi was most likely hit with a rubber-coated metal bullet.
A team from the London-based Forensic Architecture, which carried out an investigation into the incident at the request of ISM, concluded, after studying all kinds of evidence, that “contrary to the repeated claims of Israeli officials, the available medical and image evidence, as well as witness testimony, strongly suggests that Abd el-Rahman’s injuries were caused by live ammunition.”
As part of the investigation, said the report, US forensic experts were shown CT scans of Shtawi’s brain which has over 100 bullet fragments still lodged in it. From analyzing the scans, the experts said: “Although they [rubber bullets] can indeed penetrate individuals, and are more likely to do so in juveniles who exhibit less dense bone, they are not known to fragment, especially to the extent visible in the CT scans.”
Instead the experts said the level of fragmentation was “consistent with fragmentation seen in 5.56 mm [live] rounds.”
The medical scans also showed that there was no exit wound, corroborating eye-witness accounts that the shot was fired from a distance of 100-120m. “The farther away the shot, the less likely the bullet will still be travelling with enough energy to completely pass through the skull,” experts told Forensic Architecture.
ISM activists present that day also witnessed soldiers firing live bullets at protesters.
“We heard gunshots that sounded like loud claps,” they said. “An Israeli activist told us it was live ammunition, saying he’d never seen such disregard for human life. The soldiers on the ridge were spraying bullets everywhere. After the protest we found live bullet casings littering the ground where soldiers had been firing at protesters. This case shows how far Israeli forces will go to avoid admitting their crimes despite the overwhelming evidence against them.”
Shtawi’s family told ISM that they were not surprised by the army’s refusal to admit to using live fire. “The Israeli army never admitted any crime here,” they said. “Of course they said that because they don’t want to be questioned about it.”
Recently Shtawi was moved from a Tel Aviv hospital to Beit Jala in the West Bank after Israeli doctors said there was nothing else they could do. “He can’t speak and no changes [to his condition] occurred since he was shot,” his family said. “The doctors say that his condition is still in danger and that a huge damage occurred in his brain because of the bullet.”
Forensic Architecture’s report is the latest piece of evidence stacking up against the Israeli army over the shooting. It joins a previous report by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem which blamed the incident on Israel’s “reckless open-fire policy that allows soldiers to use live fire even when neither they nor anyone else is in any danger.”
In the past three months alone, 100 Palestinian children have been shot with live ammunition. Despite these gross human rights violations, said ISM, governments around the world have remained silent on the Israeli army’s callous use of live fire against children.
Source: Wafa News.