A Palestinian was shot, beaten and tied to an Israeli army jeep. The army says he posed no threat

JENIN, West Bank (AP) — When Mujahid Abadi stepped outside to see if Israeli forces had entered his uncle’s neighborhood, he was shot in the arm and the foot. That was only the start of his ordeal. Hours later, beaten and bloodied, he found himself strapped to the searing hood of an Israeli military jeep driving down a road.

The army initially said Abadi was a suspected militant, but later acknowledged he had not posed a threat to Israeli forces and was caught in crossfire with militants.

Video showing the 24-year-old strapped to the jeep circulated on social media, sparking widespread condemnation, including from the United States. Many said it showed that Israeli soldiers were using him as a human shield — a charge Israel has frequently leveled at Hamas as it battles the group in Gaza.

The military said it was investigating the incident and that it did not reflect its values. But Palestinians saw it as yet another act of brutality in Israel’s crackdown on the occupied West Bank, where violence has surged since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack triggered the war in Gaza.

Abadi, speaking to The Associated Press from a hospital bed on Tuesday, said he stepped outside his uncle’s house in the volatile West Bank city of Jenin on Saturday after he heard a commotion.

“I went outside to see what was happening, and looked towards the neighbors’ houses, where I saw the army,” he said. “When I tried to return to the house, heavy and indiscriminate gunfire was suddenly directed at me. My cousin who was near me was also hit.”

After he was shot in the arm, he hid behind his family’s car. Then he was shot again, in the foot. Unable to move, he called his father and told him he was about to die.

“I told him to try not to lose consciousness and to keep talking to me,” Raed Abadi said as he stood over his son’s hospital bed. “Suddenly, the call was disconnected.”

Raed later saw false reports on social media that a Palestinian had been killed in the raid. “I collapsed, because I was 90% sure it was my son,” he said.

Abadi was not dead, but his suffering had just begun.

After a couple of hours, Israeli soldiers found him. He says they struck his head and face and in the areas where he had been shot. Then they dragged him by his legs, lifted him by his hands and feet and threw him onto the hood of the military jeep.

“I screamed because of the heat,” he said. “Then, one of the soldiers started cursing at me and told me to be quiet.”

The military said its forces had tied Abadi to the hood of the jeep to transport him to paramedics.

But Nebal Farsakh, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Red Crescent rescue service, said the army had sealed off the area and prevented paramedics from tending to the wounded for at least an hour.

In dashboard camera footage obtained by the AP, the jeep to which Abadi was tied drove past at least two ambulances. Abadi said he was lashed to the jeep for about half an hour before soldiers untied him and released him to paramedics.

In Washington, D.C., State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said the video was “shocking.”

“Civilians should never be used as human shields. The IDF should swiftly investigate what happened and hold people accountable,” he said, referring to the Israeli military.

Israel has long accused Hamas of using civilians as human shields because the militants operate in dense, residential neighborhoods in Gaza. It blames Hamas for the high death toll in Gaza, where local health officials say over 37,000 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the war, without specifying how many were civilians. The Hamas attack that ignited the war killed some 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians.

In the West Bank, Israeli forces have carried out near-nightly raids, often setting off gunbattles with militants, and over 550 Palestinians have been killed.

Rights groups say Israel itself has a long history of using Palestinians as human shields during military operations in both territories, which it captured in a 1967 war and which Palestinians want for their future state.

For decades, the military routinely ordered Palestinian civilians to remove suspicious objects from roads and to tell people to come out of their homes so the military could arrest them, a practice known as the “neighbor procedure,” according to the Israeli rights group B’Tselem.

Israel’s Supreme Court ordered the military to stop using Palestinians as human shields in 2005, but rights groups have continued to document examples over the years. In 2021, Israeli soldiers operating in the West Bank held an AP photographer against his will in an area where Palestinians were hurling stones and the troops were firing tear gas and rubber bullets.


Associated Press journalists Jalal Bwaitel in Ramallah, West Bank, and Aref Tufana in Jenin, West Bank, contributed to this report.


Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Gaza at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war

Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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