Israel clears police officers after Palestinian man shot dead

Israel clears police officers after Palestinian man shot dead
Israel's justice ministry has cleared officers after killing a Palestinian man during a dawn raid on his village.
2 min read
01 May, 2018
Qiyan's death sparked protests in his village [AFP]

Israel has have cleared police officers of shooting dead a Palestinian citizen of Israel last year, the justice ministry said Tuesday.

Yacoub Abu al-Qiyan, aged 50, was killed when police launched a pre-dawn raid on the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran with the aim of demolishing several homes Israel claims were built without planning permission.

After Qiyan was shot dead, police claimed he was a "terrorist from the Islamic Movement" and suggested he had links to the Islamic State group. 

Palestinians who knew Qiyan reject these claims.

Israeli police officers who shot Qiyan dead also claimed he deliberately drove a vehicle into them, killing a policeman.

Residents of the village said he was shot before losing control of the car, saying an aerial video provided by the police backed their claim.

Israel's justice ministry also said there was no certainty that the impact that killed a policeman was deliberate, but they also cleared police of criminal behaviour.

"There was no reasonable suspicion of criminal offences committed by the policemen involved in the incident," the justice ministry said in a statement.

"It was decided not to continue the inquiry into the incident."

It said that the police use of firearms was reasonable as the officers believed their lives were in danger.

It did state it had "some issues" that the department referred back to the national police chief and the head of the police disciplinary department for them to consider if there was need for disciplinary action.

The statement said the Shin Bet internal security agency had examined the scene immediately after the deaths and had subsequently abandoned its investigation, saying it was unable to determine whether there had been a "terror attack".

His death sparked protests in the village.

Qiyan's nephew Raed demanded a broader investigation.

"Who planned it, who took part, who gave the orders, who opened fire, who left him to bleed for 30 minutes and prevented medics from reaching him," he told Israeli public radio, citing what he said were the post-mortem findings.

He said that his uncle had been a respected teacher and had represented Israel as a delegate to international conferences on education, science and technology.

Palestinian-Israelis - including some 300,000 Bedouins - are descendants of Palestinians who remained after the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.

They now make up around 17.5 percent of the Jewish state's population and say the state systematically discriminates against them.