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The New Arab Staff

Israeli soldier arrested on suspicion of murdering Palestinian

Mahmoud Abu Khdeir, 27, was shot dead on 14 August [Twitter]

Date of publication: 23 August, 2020

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A soldier is the second Israeli arrested over alleged involvement in the deadly shooting of Mahmoud Abu Khdeir, 27, in East Jerusalem earlier this month
Israeli police on Sunday arrested a soldier on suspicion of his involvement in the fatal shooting of Palestinian Mahmoud Abu Khdeir in the Shuafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem in the early hours of 14 August, local media reported.

The police had previously arrested a 23-year-old Israeli man on suspicion of shooting Abu Khdeir, 27.

However, according to reports, investigators now believe that the soldier had sent the other man on his behalf to Shuafat to carry out a drug deal. When the deal went wrong, the man shot Abu Khdeir.

Eyewitnesses said at the time that Abu Khdeir was shot by a masked gunman riding a motorcycle, who fled the scene following the incident.

Medical teams attempted to resuscitate Abu Khdeir but he died shortly after.

The police tracked down the shooting suspect at his home in Netanya, Israel, were they also found the weapon and ammunition.

The suspect appeared in court in Jerusalem on 14 August, during which his lawyer claimed he shot Abu Khdeir in self defence.

The case is a rare example of an investigation into gun crime involving Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories.

An estimated 95 per cent of shooting incidents in Israel occur in Palestinian communities, as do nearly 60 per cent of murders. Palestinians say the police does little to track down the perpetrators.

Read more: A deadly gun violence epidemic has gripped Palestinian communities. Is Israeli police neglect to blame? 

The rising murder rates in the marginalised community have spawned a grassroots protest movement, involving senior figures within the Palestinian Joint List party, who collectively decry Israeli police inaction and political indifference to resolve the crisis.

Analysts believe that a large section of criminal activity is rooted in the Palestinians' exclusion from the formal Israeli economy and competition over scarce resources, as well as decades of social exclusion.

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