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4 February 2008, Nablus: Abu Hantash died of head injuries caused by rubber-coated bullet

Update: On 5 August 2009 the Office of the Central District Attorney informed B’Tselem that the case against the Border Policemen was closed for lack of evidence.

Around 2:00 P.M. on 4 January 2008, Border Police were patrolling a-Najah Street, in Nablus. It was the time of Friday-afternoon prayers, and the street was quiet. A grocery-store owner who was standing next to his store saw two young men standing at the entrance to a side street. They were about fifty meters from him, on the other side of the street. When the Border Police jeep reached the side street, the two young men began to run. The jeep continued past the intersection. Then the witness heard shooting. The witness added that the jeep continued on its way, without stopping.

A call for help followed immediately after the shots were fired. The grocery-store owner and his brother rushed to the site and found Ahmad Abu Hantash, a customer of theirs, wounded in the head. He was lying about fifteen meters from the main road along which the jeep had passed. A Red Crescent ambulance came and took him to a hospital in the city. On 23 January, he died from his wound. He was thirty-two years old and had two children.

An X-ray of his skull showed three rubber-coated metal bullets had entered frm the upper part of his back, by the neck.

Rubber-coated metal bullets are intended for dispersing demonstrations. Their use is restricted to distances of forty meters and more, and the shots must be aimed at the legs. It is unclear why the soldiers opened fire in a street with few people, without giving prior warning, or why they continued on their way without giving assistance to the wounded man.

B'Tselem wrote to the authorities demanding an investigation of the incident.