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October 6, 2022 2:50 pm
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IDF Probe Finds ‘No Connection’ Between Death of 7-Year-Old Palestinian Boy and Military Search

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

Relatives and family members mourn during the 7-year-old Palestinian boy Rayan Suleiman funeral in the West Bank village of Tuqu’ near Bethlehem.

The Israeli army on Thursday rebuffed allegations that its military operations in the West Bank village of Tuqu’ led to the death of a seven-year-old Palestinian boy following an internal investigation of the incident.

The IDF said it found “no connection between the tragic death” of Rayan Suleiman and its raid in the boy’s village on Sept. 29. The Israeli army said Israeli soldiers were inspecting a number of buildings, including Suleiman’s home, as they were searching for boys who had escaped after throwing stones at vehicles on a central road in the area south of Bethlehem. Suleiman’s family alleged that the raid scared Rayan and that he died of heart failure after being chased by an Israeli soldier. Other reports claimed that the boy fell from a high place.

Following the incident, US State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel called for a “thorough and immediate investigation into the circumstances surrounding the child’s death,” by the IDF.

“The examination shows that no evidence was found regarding Rayan’s fall or of the physical damage he suffered as a result of the IDF activity,” the Israeli army said citing the findings of the probe. “During the entire stay of the troops in the village, no physical force or weapons of any kind were used (including firearms or riot dispersal means).”

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According to the findings of the investigation, an IDF commander shortly questioned Suleiman’s father at the doorstep of his house together with two of his children.

“The conversation was held in a respectful manner, without any form of physical contact and certainly without the use of verbal or physical violence,” the IDF stated. “As the troops exited the village, they encountered a vehicle with the father of the family with the child on his lap.”

“The car continued its journey without delay. Afterwards, the commander identified an ambulance that entered and exited the village with no interference,” the IDF stated.

“The soldiers acted as expected of them, while adhering to the values of the IDF, and maintaining responsibility and purity of arms,” the Israeli army concluded.

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