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February 20, 2018

Palestinians exhume body of disabled Gazan killed during clashes

Palestinians exhume body of disabled Gazan killed during clashes
'A picture taken on December 15, 2017 shows wheelchair-bound demonstrator Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh waving a Palestinian flag during a protest along the Gaza-Israel border, where Palestinian officials say he was shot and killed' - By: AFP MOHAMMED ABED

Palestinian officials exhumed the body of a disabled Gazan man Sunday as part of efforts to prove Israeli forces shot him in the head during recent protests and clashes.

"Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh's body was exhumed this morning for another autopsy to refute Israeli claims that come as an attempt to evade their responsibility for this crime," Mohammad Al-Najjal, the deputy justice minister in the Gaza Strip, told AFP.

Najjal said the Palestinian authorities in Gaza decided that "in order to refute the occupation's claims, the bullet in his head must be presented to international parties," he added.

He said "the results of this autopsy will be presented to international parties including the ICC (International Criminal Court)."

It was unclear whether a full autopsy had been performed on Abu Thurayeh after his death on December 15 in the Palestinian enclave run by Islamist movement Hamas.

Israel's military said earlier this month it was opening an investigation into the death of the 29-year-old who, according to his family, had lost his legs in a 2008 Israeli strike.

Palestinian officials say the wheelchair-bound man was shot in the head by an Israeli sniper during protests and clashes along the Gaza border on December 15.

The United Nations' human rights chief said he was "truly shocked" by Abu Thurayeh's death and demanded an "independent and impartial investigation".

Israel's announcement that it was opening a probe into his death came after the military previously said it was not able to determine whether he had been killed by its soldiers' fire.

AFP photographers have seen Abu Thurayeh at multiple demonstrations in recent years.

In video footage recorded the day he was killed, Abu Thurayeh could be seen carrying the Palestinian flag and waving the victory sign at Israeli soldiers across the border.

The protest on December 15 was part of unrest that has occurred in the Palestinian territories since US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Sixteen Palestinians have been killed since Trump's December 6 announcement, most of them in clashes with Israeli forces.

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