RAMALLAH, West Bank – The Israeli military says a senior West Bank commander who killed a Palestinian stone-thrower last week opened fire because he felt "mortal" danger after stones hit his jeep's windshield.
The military said Monday that Col. Israel Shomer exhausted "all measures" before firing at 17-year-old Mohammed al-Kusbah, without elaborating on what the measures were.
However, Palestinian witness Haroun Hazeen told The Associated Press that the officer got out of his jeep and opened fire immediately, shooting even as al-Kusbah fled. Hospital physician Samer Saliba says al-Kusbah was shot in the face and back.
An initial army investigation backed Shomer.
Sarit Michaeli from the rights group B'Tselem says the high-profile case sends a message to soldiers that lethal force is acceptable even when stone-throwers no longer seem to pose a threat.