Israeli army admits to 'unnecessary' killing of unarmed Palestinian father in front of son

Israeli army admits to 'unnecessary' killing of unarmed Palestinian father in front of son
The military narrative around unarmed Ahmad Kahla's killing at a checkpoint in the West Bank keeps changing.
2 min read
23 January, 2023
Ahmad Kahla's death was described as a 'heinous execution' by leaders [Getty images]

Israeli forces have admitted to the 'unnecessary' killing of unarmed Ahmad Kahla, who was shot dead in front of his son at a checkpoint north of Ramallah on 15 January.

In a rare admission of responsibility, an initial probe by Israeli military police found that the 45-year old man was “unnecessarily shot dead” according to Israeli media. 

The Israeli military had previously said soldiers shot someone after a "violent confrontation", during which Kahla allegedly "attempted to take hold of one of the soldiers' weapons".

Military investigations have now found these claims to be untrue. 

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The man's son, Qusai Kahla, told reporters he was in the car with his father when they were stopped at the checkpoint.

"Soldiers came and they sprayed pepper spray on my face and pulled me out of the car," the 18-year-old said at the family home in Rammun village.

"I don't know what happened after that," he said. "I found out from my uncle that my dad was killed."

Israel's military, meanwhile, had said the Palestinians refused to stop and soldiers used "riot dispersal means in order to detain one of the suspects in the vehicle".

The pepper spray that the Israeli soldier used had not been supplied by the army, but was sprayed extensively over the body of Ahmad Kahla before he was shot dead. 

When footage of the shooting emerged on social media, army sources then changed their story to say that Kahla had "tried to snatch one of their guns." 

The footage does not support their claims, and eyewitnesses told the army investigation he was waving his arms while being pulled from the vehicle. 
The Palestinian foreign ministry has condemned the killing as a "heinous execution".