Northern Negev, 18 January 2017
Forensic Architecture collaborated with ActiveStills to investigate the killing of a Bedouin man, Yaqub Musa Abu al-Qi’an, and of a policeman, Erez Levi, on 18 January 2017 in the illegalised Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in the northern Negev.
Shortly before dawn on 18 January, a large police force raided the village in order to prepare for the demolition of several houses. This demolition was part of a plan to remove the entire village in order to clear the area for the building of a new settlement for Jews only. The police said Abu al-Qi’an was involved in a terrorist attack and suggested he had “links to DAESH”. Local residents and activists said the policemen shot Abu al-Qi’an without provocation and that, following this shooting, Abu al-Qi’an lost control of his car which drove over the policemen.
To investigate the incident Forensic Architecture synchronised videos shot on the ground by members of ActiveStills with aerial footage released by Israeli police. The video we produced overlaying the voiceover of the ground videos over the aerial police footage.
Our analysis shows that Abu al-Qi’an’s car was proceeding slowly towards the general direction of the policemen when it was shot 3 times. This was followed by a burst of 4 gunshots.
4 seconds after the first shot was fired his car changes course and drove towards a group of policemen.
6 seconds after the first shot the car hits the policemen.
This is followed by a long burst of fire. The car’s horn is heard continuously sounding, suggesting that the driver might be incapacitated.
13 seconds after the first shot the car comes to a standstill.
We can also identify the clear sound of a single gunshot at a time several policemen are seen surrounding the stopped vehicle. This last shot is consistent with what the Israeli security personnel calls “verification of killing” or shooting with the intent to kill already neutralised people.
Forensic Architecture team
- Ariel Caine
- Eyal Weizman
- Oren Ziv
- Christina Varvia
- Stefan Laxness
- Daniel Mann
- Nichola Czyz
- Activestills (Keren Manor)
Reconstruction of Umm al-Hiran killings disproves car-ramming claims | +972, 18 May 2017
שחזור התקרית באום אל חיראן: אבו אל קיעאן היה בהכרה ולא היה צורך בהאצת הרכב | Haaretz, 16 May 2017
השחזור האזרחי מוכיח: לא הייתה דריסה מכוונת באום אל חיראן | Local Call (Sicha Mekomit), 17 May 2017
Erdan under fire as reports say incident in Umm al-Hiran was not a terror attack | The Jerusalem Post, 22 February 2017
Israeli Public Security Minister backtracks on whether cop’s killing by Bedouin was terror | Haaretz, 22 February 2017
Killing of Bedouin Driver: New Video Contradicts Claim by Israeli Police | Haaretz, 3 February 2017
Video contradicts more police claims in Umm el-Hiran killing | +972, 1 February 2017
What is evidence anyway? Activism in the era of post-truth | Open Democracy, 23 January 2017
Video analysis contradicts Israeli police explanation of alleged ‘terror attack’ in Umm al-Hiran | Mondoweiss, 19 January 2017
Visual analysis undermines police version of events in Umm el-Hiran | +972, 19 January 2017
Contrary to police claims, al-Qi’an’s headlights were on
“..Almost every element of the story police relayed in the hours after the deadly incident has been repudiated in various media reports and investigations. Now, it seems the police claim that Yaqub Musa Abu al-Qi’an was driving with his lights off, which allegedly made police suspect he was carrying out a vehicular attack, is most likely untrue as well…video shows Abu al-Qi’an’s vehicle, after three shots were fired at it, heading down a slope with its headlights on — before striking any police officers.”
Video contradicts more police claims in Umm el-Hiran killing by John Brown, +972 Published February 1, 2017
In an Al Jazeera news report broadcast the day after the incident, we noticed a short video segment which we believed to show Yaqub Abu al-Qi’an’s car in the first moments of the incident. There is a flashlight pointed at the car and its headlights are on. Abu al-Qi’an’s car does not seem to be moving at an irregular pace.
“…Later that day, police released a video clip filmed from a police helicopter overhead. “In the film, you can see the terrorist standing on the side of the road with the lights of his car off, and the minute he notices the team of [police] he accelerates at them and hits them,” said the police. But in the film, shot with a thermal camera, it is not possible to see whether the lights of al-Kiyan’s Jeep are off or not. Erdan repeated the police’s claim, saying it proved al-Kiyan’s intentions to run over the police officers.”
Killing of Bedouin Driver: New Video Contradicts Claim by Israeli Police by Almog Ben Zikri, Haaretz Feb 03, 2017
20 March 2017
Arguing the Truth
13 July 2017
This video documents Forensic Architecture’s and Activestills’ immediate investigation of this case — showing that the policemen shot Abu al-Qi’an without provocation – and its involvement in the media campaign to expose the lies of the police.