IDF Soldier Who Killed Palestinian Toddler Mohammed Tamimi Will Not Face Disciplinary Action

IDF inquiry states the soldier mistakenly believed Tamimi family fired at him, as the sound of the shots came from a nearby IDF officer. Army acknowledges communication deficiencies, incorrect decisions

The Israeli army decided that no disciplinary action will be taken against a soldier who fatally shot a Palestinian toddler and injured his father at the entrance to Nabi Saleh village in the West Bank earlier this month.

According to an inquiry released by the IDF on Wednesday, the soldier mistakenly believed that the toddler, Mohammed Tamimi, and his father, Haitham, had fired at him. This perception was formed after two Palestinians had previously fired at a nearby settlement. The soldier had received permission from his commander before shooting.

An IDF officer who fired into the air at another car in the village while searching for the source of the gunfire will be reprimanded for violating orders. The inquiry’s findings will be submitted to the Military Advocate General for a potential Military Police investigation.

According to the inquiry, the incident was triggered by a report of shooting near the West Bank settlement Neve Zuf from a hill close to Nabi Saleh, according to the inquiry. An officer entered the village to search for the shooters, encountered a suspicious car, and fired into the air, which goes against the rules of engagement that only permit shooting at cars in cases of immediate danger.

The officer fired despite the fact that the shooting towards the settlement or the military post at the village’s entrance had already ceased.

Simultaneously, a soldier stationed at the military post mistakenly believed that the officer’s shots came from the fleeing terrorists, who were the toddler Tamimi and his father entering their car. With permission from his commander, the soldier fired multiple times at the car, resulting in the toddler’s death and critically injuring his father.

The inquiry stated that ‘the soldier’s assessment that the fleeing terrorists were responsible for the shooting was influenced by the sequence of events and the officer’s hearing of the gunfire while on patrols in the village.’

The IDF admitted to deficiencies in command, control, and communication among the forces on the ground, leading to erroneous decisions. The army also added that about a week after the incident, several Palestinians were arrested on suspicion of firing at the settlement, according to the army.

The shooting incident occurred on the evening of June 1. Mohammed Tamimi succumbed to his head wound four days after being taken to the Sheba Medical Center. His father, Haitham, was treated for bullet wounds in the shoulder and shrapnel at Istishari Hospital in Ramallah, from which he was discharged last week. The IDF expressed regret for injuring innocent individuals and pledged to prevent such incidents.

‘We did not know there were IDF forces in the village,’ said Haitham Tamimi to Palestinian media outlets immediately after the incident. The soldiers’ actions were disputed by villagers who told Haaretz that they did not hear any shots in the vicinity before the soldiers opened fire.

Marva Tamimi, Mohammed’s mother, believed that the soldiers shot her husband and son from a relatively close range, mentioning past instances of soldiers firing near their house and causing damage.

She stated that soldiers would often hide themselves near the yard of their house, specifically under the fence that separated the house from the road, at a distance of approximately 50 meters. According to her, this resulted in the windows of their house being shattered over the years due to live fire in close proximity and the throwing of stun grenades into their yard.

The IDF denied firing at the family from the house’s fence or its vicinity.