The Israeli police officer who shot a Palestinian child in the face over the weekend has told investigators that he only fired at a wall, reported Haaretz.
8-year-old Malek Issa was walking home from school in Issawiya, occupied East Jerusalem, when he was hit with a sponge-tipped bullet.
Issa remains in serious condition in intensive care in hospital, and is expected to lose his sight in one eye – and maybe in both.
Now, according to Haaretz, the police officer who opened fire “admitted to having used his weapon, but claimed he only fired a single sponge-tipped bullet at a wall to calibrate his sights”.
The report added that the officer further claimed “he didn’t notice that the boy…had been hit in the face, and thought he may have been hit by a stone thrown by other Palestinians”.
On Sunday, the Justice Ministry’s department for the investigation of police officers began looking into the incident, Haaretz noted, “but has yet to decide whether to open an official investigation or summon the officer in question”.
His father, Wahel Issa, said there had been absolutely no justification for the police to open fire.
“At the spot where they got off [the bus], the police were trying to take somebody and a lot of people had gathered. There were no rocks being thrown or anything”.
“The police saw a lot of people and fired. The boy received the bullet between the eyes”, he said.
The report added that “footage from the scene supports the family’s claim, and show no unusual activity in the moments before the shooting”.
Eyewitnesses also corroborated that Issa had simply got off a bus with his sisters and cousin and crossed the road when shot.
“They [local residents] were shouting at the police. Suddenly one of the policemen shot from a distance of perhaps 50 metres. I saw the boy fall before my very eyes”, one said.