A close examination of the Palestinian versions of Abu Thuraya’s death raises many questions about how and when he actually died.
On December 15, 2017, Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, a 29-year-old double amputee, was killed near the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel during violent clashes with Israeli forces.
The Palestinians claimed that he was killed by an IDF sniper, while an IDF investigation proved that IDF sniper fire had in fact ended at least one hour before Palestinian reports claimed Abu Thuraya was injured. The investigation also found that snipers only fired three times that day at those identified as key instigators.
Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Major General Yoav Mordechai called at the time for the Red Cross to obtain the medical records from the hospital to find out what had really happened to the disabled activist, stressing the importance of uncovering the truth.
A new in-depth examination by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) raises many questions about the version of events presented by the Palestinians.
CAMERA has previously exposed numerous media inaccuracies regarding both the unclear circumstances of Abu Thuraya’s death and how he lost his legs.
For instance, archival video obtained by the Associated Press revealed that the Abu Thuraya lost his legs in the course of his participation in clashes against Israeli forces, and not during an Israeli airstrike, as his family had claimed.
The absence of any photos of Abu Thuraya’s injury right after he was shot, despite the abundance of images released of the incident, is odd, to say the least.
Two Conflicting Palestinian Versions of the Death
Now, an examination of footage purporting to show Abu-Thuraya’s death cast further doubt on the Palestinian version of the events.
Specifically, Presspectiva, CAMERA’s Hebrew-language department, found critical discrepancies in the information provided by Palestinian news sources, raising additional questions about Abu Thuraya’s death.
The First Video
The Hamas-affiliated Shehab News Agency released two entirely different videos, both supposedly showing the shooting to death of Abu Thuraya.
The first video was published on December 15, the day Abu Thuraya died. In this video, Abu Thuraya is first seen in a wheelchair with about three other men next to him. He is then seen being carried away, supposedly right after he was shot.
The sun appears low in the sky, and the sky is dark, suggesting the time of day to be late in the afternoon, or dusk. The people surrounding Abu Thuraya are wearing long sleeves and sweatshirts or jackets. Abu Thuraya is carried by a man in a long-sleeved shirt and black hat, assisted by a man with a beige vest, dark shirt and jeans. Neither are wearing glasses. They are accompanied by a large throng of men shouting loudly and indistinctly.
The Second Video
A second video was published by Shehab the following day. This video shows a completely different scene. Here, the weather is sunny and clear rather than dark, and the crowd is not as large, made up mainly of younger people wearing short-sleeves rather than long sleeves and jackets.
The film begins with Palestinian paramedics in uniform running from the camera, followed by a man carrying Abu Thuraya in his arms who appears to be wearing the uniform of a paramedic with a short-sleeved white shirt and red pants. He is wearing sunglasses and no hat.
The young men accompanying Abu Thuraya and the paramedics have taken up a high-pitched, distinct and repetitive chant of “Allahu Akhbar” as opposed to the indistinct loud shouting in the first video.
Although Abu Thuraya apparently just took a bullet to the head, he keeps his head raised and lifts up his hand and fingers to mark “victory.” On the center of his forehead there is a red stain, an apparent injury. The medic places Abu Thuraya in the ambulance and then bandages his patient’s forehead.
Abu Thuraya’s Lethal Head Injury
In contrast to the first video, the second video appears to show the head injury that reportedly caused Abu Thuraya’s death. However, according to Palestinian Red Crescent documents, the wound was located above his left eye.
In the video there is no sign of injury over Abu Thuraya’s left eye and only a single, large red stain visible on the middle-upper part of his forehead.
In a further discrepancy, a photo released of Abu Thuraya at his funeral shows two distinct spots of red over both eyes – a concentrated, more intense spot over the left eye and longer, lighter streak over the right.
It is not clear whether the marks in the above photo represent open wounds or blood, but to have blood remaining on the deceased at the funeral would raise a question in and of itself: there is an obligation in Islam to thoroughly cleanse the deceased before his or her funeral and burial.
More bizarre is that the location of the wounds in the funeral picture are in an entirely different location on Abu Thuraya than what appeared on the video purporting to show Abu Thuraya’s death.
Many Questions Remain Unanswered
The IDF investigation concluded that sniper fire had ceased at least an hour before Abu Thuraya was reportedly hit. Two separate videos claim to show the moment Abu Thuraya was “martyred” by Israeli troops. But discrepancies in the time of day the purported event took place, the weather at the time, and the number and identity of participants, suggest two entirely different scenes.
The two videos ostensibly show the injury that caused Abu Thuraya’s death, but only in the second video can the injury be clearly seen. A comparison between the apparent site of the injury in the video and that in the funeral picture – show two different locations.
Questions that remain unanswered include why were the two videos filmed at different times of the day, or perhaps not even on the same day, with different people surrounding and carrying Abu Thuraya? Why do the two photos, in video and in funeral photo, show entirely different locations of injury?
Most importantly, how and when did Abu Thuraya actually die?
CAMERA notes that this incident extends beyond the personal case of Abu Thuraya.
The case of Abu Thuraya “demonstrates a propagandist mechanism of staging the injuring and killing of a person who eagerly anticipates his martyrdom and views it positively as his contribution to a campaign against the Jewish state,” CAMREA points out.