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Israeli soldiers fatally shoot Muhammad Dar ‘Udwan from behind, as he was fleeing

At around 3:30 A.M. on 2 April 2019, over ten Israeli military vehicles drove into the neighborhood of Kafr ‘Aqab in northern East Jerusalem. As the vehicles were making their way along t...
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Israeli soldiers fatally shoot Muhammad Dar ‘Udwan from behind, as he was fleeing

At around 3:30 A.M. on 2 April 2019, over ten Israeli military vehicles drove into the neighborhood of Kafr ‘Aqab in northern East Jerusalem. As the vehicles were making their way along the Ramallah-Jerusalem road, several young Palestinians began throwing stones at them. Several minutes later, the vehicles turned into an alleyway near the old al-Matar Road [Airport Road]. The young men went there and threw stones, from 10 to 20 meters away, at the security forces in the alley. Six more young Palestinians joined them. They blocked the exit to the alleyway with a barrel and some other items. The soldiers threw two stun grenades at them, and then fired live gunfire into the air. 

At around 4:00 A.M., some of the young men threw two IEDs at the soldiers.

Muhammad Dar ‘Udwan. Photo courtesy of the family

Right after that, a group of seven soldiers surrounded the buildings on old al-Matar Road. They then approached the entrance into the alleyway from the opposite direction and opened fire at the young men. At the same time, a group of soldiers in the alleyway also advanced towards the young men. The gunfire hit two young men in the thigh, and they fled. Muhammad Dar ‘Udwan, 24, fled in the opposite direction, running past the seven soldiers. He continued running away as a barrage of bullets rained down on him.

Video footage captured by a local resident and on security cameras on a nearby building shows Dar ‘Udwan running away and the soldiers firing at him. After running about 10 meters, Dar ‘Udwan is seen falling beside a parked car. About a minute later, soldiers are seen approaching Dar ‘Udwan and checking on him. Three minutes later, soldiers are seen placing Dar ‘Udwan on a stretcher near the alleyway and carrying him into a jeep that then drives off. At 7:30 A.M., Dar ‘Udwan’s body was handed over to the Palestinian Red Crescent. An examination of the body at the hospital revealed one entry wound in the back of the left thigh and another under the right armpit.

A.S., 24, one of the men who had been with Dar ‘Udwan that night talked about the incident in a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad on 3 April 2019:

At 4:00 A.M., there were soldiers in a side alley opposite the Matir family home, where they arrested three brothers. Near the kindergarten classroom of the Kafr ‘Aqab elementary school, there were about ten guys throwing stones at the soldiers. The alley where the soldiers were is no more than five or six meters wide, and the jeeps that went far down it, filled it from end to end. Because it was nighttime, all the residents’ cars were parked there and the military vehicles had a hard time driving through. Soldiers who were in the alleyway threw stun grenades at the young men and fired live rounds at them.

Suddenly, a group of about ten soldiers took us by surprise. The soldiers had crept in by way of the buildings to the north of the young men without anyone noticing. Muhammad Dar ‘Udwan was standing at a corner of the alleyway, across from the pizza place, facing away from where the soldiers were coming. I was across the way from him, a few meters away, near the corner of the kindergarten, with about ten other guys.

I could hear massive fire being directed at the guys from very close range. It started from a distance of about ten meters, and the soldiers came closer, shooting all the while, up to just a few meters away. They hit us like we were sitting ducks. A. and I were hit at the same time. He was right next to me, and we had been deep in conversations. Muhammad ran in the opposite direction. He must have gotten disoriented while trying to get away from the soldiers in between the cars that were parked on the sidewalk. The soldiers kept firing at him.

My leg was numb, but I managed to overcome it and run away. So did A. We leaned on the guys who were with us, because we had both been hit in the right thigh. We fled to an alley inside the camp, and then were taken in two separate cars to a medical center in Ramallah, where we were examined and x-rayed. I got some preventative treatment because there were no fractures or serious injuries. A. was taken into surgery and He’s still in the ICU.

Mustafa Abu Ramuz, a 43-year-old married father of five, lives in a building located above the alley where the stone throwing took place. The building also overlooks the Ramallah-Jerusalem road. In a testimony he gave B'Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad on 2 April 2019, he described what happened that night: 

At about 4:00 A.M., there were military jeeps on the side street near my house. I was standing on the balcony and from there I could see both what was happening at the entrance to the alleyway and what was happening on the old al-Matar Road, where our building is. 

After the stone-throwing began, I heard only live gunfire. It was intermittent. At that time, I saw about ten guys in front of the Kafr ‘Aqab kindergarten, which is on the corner south of my house. They were throwing stones at the soldiers who were far down the alley. Suddenly, I saw a group of about ten soldiers creeping up from behind one of the buildings, in between the cars that were parked on the sidewalk. The guys who were throwing stones at the jeeps far down the alley didn’t see them coming. The soldiers took them by surprise, firing volleys of live ammunition. I could here automatic fire by more than one soldier. The soldiers aimed the first volley at the guys who were at the entrance to the alley. I later found out they hit two of them in the legs, but they managed to get away with the help of their friends. One guy got confused and instead of running in the same direction the others did, away from the soldiers, he ran diagonally toward the west, past the soldiers. I filmed it all on my phone. I saw a group of soldiers pursuing him and shooting at him from very close range, from just a few meters away. He didn’t manage to to get away. He was hit almost right away and fell down. It was dark, so it was hard to see him and tell who he was.

It was horrifying to see that guy being shot. I just lost it and started screaming at the soldiers. I yelled in Hebrew: “You’ve killed him! Help him! Give him medical attention!” They turned their lights in my direction me and without any emotion ordered me: “Go home. Go home.” I went ballistic, and started swearing and cursing at them. I was just so upset by what had happened. They had killed a guy in cold blood and then gathered around him; when I’d yelled out to them to help him they shouted at me to get back inside. I went back inside and called the Red Crescent. I told them that someone had been injured. I asked them to send an ambulance, even though I saw that the person on the ground wasn’t moving. 

His death is one of four investigated by B’Tselem since the beginning of March 2019, in which lethal gunfire was found to be clearly unjustified.

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