QALANDIYA, West Bank (Reuters) - A Palestinian wanted on suspicion of planning a militant attack fell to his death from a rooftop on Monday as he fled from police in the occupied West Bank, Israeli police said, an account disputed by a witness.
Israeli forces have killed three Palestinians in the West Bank in the past week in raids that they say foil attacks.
A police spokeswoman said the man, identified by Qalandiya residents as 19-year-old Mohammed Abu Latifa, ignored paramilitary police officers’ orders to halt and climbed onto a rooftop where police shot him in the lower body to stop him.
“Nonetheless, the wanted man continued fleeing, and when he tried to move to another roof, he tripped and fell, and was fatally injured as a result,” she said.
However, Shahdi Awad, who lives in a neighboring building and who said he saw the incident, told Reuters Abu Latifa was shot dead and had not fallen off the roof.
“He was shot repeatedly on the rooftop, and that’s where he stayed until the soldiers came and took down the body,” he said.
Palestinians who saw Abu Latifa said he had gunshot wounds in his legs but no clear sign of damage elsewhere. Palestinian doctors said his family’s had refused permission for an autopsy.
The police spokeswoman, Luba Samri, said, “He (Awad) can say whatever he wants. Our account is what happened.”
She said that Abu Latifa, and a second man arrested without incident in Qalandiya, were “suspected of planning a terrorist attack within Israel”.
Qalandiya residents said Abu Latifa was a member of the Fatah political party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas but that they had no knowledge of him having any affiliation with armed factions within the party.
Reporting by Ali Sawafta; Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Louise Ireland