JERUSALEM – A 21-year-old Palestinian man died Saturday after being hit in the head by Israeli police after throwing rubber bullets at Palestinian stone-throwing protesters during violence in Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site.
Sharif was wounded in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on April 22 – the site of repeated clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters in recent weeks.
Amateur videos from the time show a large group of Palestinians fleeing heavy Israeli fire. Shortly after the shooting, Sharif was seen falling on his face and lying still on the ground. Israeli police quickly removed him.
At the time, police fired sponge-tipped bullets to disperse a crowd of masked Palestinians who were said to be throwing stones and fireworks at police and near the Western Wall – the holiest place of worship in Judaism.
Palestinian eyewitnesses and Sharif’s family say he was shot in the head with a rubber bullet when Israeli authorities suggested he had died of his injuries. On Saturday, Hadassah officials refused to give the exact cause of the head injury.
The family’s lawyer, Firas Zebrini, said the family had refused Israeli requests for an autopsy, but police had refused to allow them to see the body and had removed it without permission from Israel’s main forensic institute. He said he had appealed to an Israeli court to stop the autopsy and return the body to the family.
Shirin Abu Akleh, a well-known Al Jazeera journalist who was killed during an Israeli army operation in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, was laid to rest at a mass funeral in Jerusalem where he was beaten to death by Israeli police. Mourners and pallbearers.
Palestinians, including journalists who were with him, said he had been shot dead by Israeli forces. The Israeli military says there was an exchange of fire with Palestinian gunmen at the time and it is not clear who fired the shots.
Sharif was wounded during the violence at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, and at Temple Mount, the site of a biblical temple, and a rival precinct revered by Jews as the holiest site in Judaism. The site’s rival claims are at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the compound is often a scene of violence.
In the 1967 Middle East war, Israel occupied East Jerusalem, home to the old city and its sensitive religious sites. Israel claims the entire city as its capital and annexes East Jerusalem in a move that is not internationally recognized. The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state.