Photo Credit: Kobi Richter/TPS

There is no connection between the IDF’s operations and the death of Rayyan Yaser Suleiman late last month, an IDF inquiry has found.

Suleiman died on September 29, and according to initial Arab claims, he died after falling from a high place while running away from Israeli soldiers who were chasing him in the village of Toqou, in the Bethlehem area. They later said the IDF scared him to death in his home.

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However, an IDF investigation into the incident concluded that a connection between the death of Suleiman and the activity of the force operating in the area at the time has been ruled out.

The investigation shows that during a routine activity of the IDF force to protect a route, a number of Arabs threw rocks at Israeli vehicles. An IDF force entered the village of Khirbat a-Dir, where the suspects had fled.

During the searches, the company commander moved between several buildings to identify the suspects.

In one of the houses, the commander recognized Suleiman Sr., the father of the family, from the window of his house, and called him to come out to the entrance of the house together with his children, in order to question him.

The father arrived with two of his children, possibly Ryyan being one of them, and had a short conversation with the officer at the doorstep of the house, “conducted in a respectful manner, without any contact and certainly without the use of verbal or physical violence.”

During the departure of the troops from the village, a vehicle passed by them with Ryyan Sr. in it with a child on his lap, and the vehicle continued its journey without delay. After some time, the commander of the force noticed an ambulance that entered the village and left it without any disturbance.

“The investigation shows that during the entire time that the force was in the village, no force or means of combat of any kind were used at all (no firearms and no means of dispersing demonstrations),” the IDF underscored.

“The investigation also shows that no evidence was found of Ryyan’s fall or of physical damage caused as a result of the actions of the force,” the report, published on Thursday, stated.

According to the conclusions of the investigation, any connection between the unfortunate death of the boy Ryyan Suleiman and the operation of the force “is ruled out.”

“The fighters acted as expected of them while adhering to IDF values, and maintaining the responsibility and purity of the weapons,” the IDF concluded.

The hospital to which Ryyan was admitted inadvertently agreed that Ryyan was not killed by the IDF. The hospital in Bethlehem stated that Ryyan was “brought to the hospital after his heart had stopped and efforts to revive him had failed.”

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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.