Update: On 23 February 2018 media reports stated that an MPIU investigation had been launched.
On the night of 22 February 2018, at approximately 1:00 A.M., about twenty Israeli soldiers entered the city center of Jericho in the West Bank. According to the military, they were on a mission to carry out arrests in the city. Some fifteen minutes later, several soldiers entered a home and searched it, while others waited at the entrance to the alley where the house was located. The soldiers’ presence led to clashes in which Palestinians threw stones at the soldiers. At some point, Yassin a-Saradih (35) ran with an iron bar attached to a car wheel rim towards the soldiers who were standing at the entrance to the alley, in an attempt to attack them.
In video footage captured by security cameras of nearby stores, a-Saradih is seen running towards the soldiers with the bar. A soldier then shoots him in the lower body at point blank range. After the shooting, three other soldiers emerge from the alley and all four forcefully kick a-Saradih, who is lying on the ground. The soldiers are seen beating him with their rifles and dragging him into the alley. There, they continue to drag him along face down and then lean over him, shine flashlights on him, kick him lightly and move him with their feet. After about ten minutes, during which time they offer the wounded man no medical assistance, one of the soldiers fires a tear-gas cannister at the entrance to the alley. The soldiers are then seen dragging a-Saradih into the alley, out of the cameras’ range, apparently to avoid the tear gas that drifted their way.
About fifteen minutes later, the soldiers are seen again outside the alley, this time carrying a-Saradih by his arms and legs. They hoist him onto a military jeep that drives up and he is driven away.
Edited video. Links to full documentation at the bottom
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit changed its version of the event several times. In its first response, the unit stated that a-Saradih had attacked the soldiers, armed with a knife, and had attempted to grab their weapons, and that during his arrest he had sustained an injury and received first aid. In a second announcement issued later that day, the unit stated only that he had tried to attack the force, which “responded with gunfire, confronted the terrorist from close range and managed to stop him”, and that a knife had later been found on a-Saradih’s body. The next day, the military claimed that he had apparently died from tear gas inhalation.
According to the autopsy results published that day by the media, a-Saradih was shot with live ammunition in the abdomen and may have died of blood loss. Nevertheless, the military continued to claim that the paramedics who treated him saw no sign of bullet entry.
This is a particularly grave incident: The soldiers forcefully kicked a severely wounded man lying on the ground and beat him with their rifles in the head, upper body and groin. Then they dragged him along an alleyway as though he were not a human being and did not offer him crucial medical aid for more than thirty minutes.
In light of this unacceptable conduct, the attempts made by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit to justify the incident with one excuse or another are equally disturbing – as is the resounding silence of military and civilian officials. The absence of a firm, unequivocal statement by the military that such conduct will not be tolerated effectively condones the soldiers’ actions, allowing such incidents to recur in the future. The announcement that a Military Police investigation has been launched, as reported by the media, is meant merely to create the illusion that the military is treating the incident with all seriousness. Based on years of experience, the investigation is unlikely to result in any indictment of the persons responsible for the killing and ill-treatment of a-Saradih – certainly not among the higher ranks.
On 23 February 2018 media reports stated that an MPIU investigation had been launched. On 26 August 2019, B’Tselem learned that the case had been closed without any indictments.
Links to full video footage: