Umm al-Hiran

Killing in Umm al-Hiran

Northern Negev, 18 January 2017


Shortly before dawn on 18 January 2017, a large police force raided the illegalized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran at the northern threshold of the Naqab/Negev Desert in order to demolish several houses. Two people were killed: a Bedouin villager, Yaqub Musa Abu al-Qi’an, and an Israeli policeman, Erez Levi. Immediately after the incident, the Israeli government and police claimed the incident was a ‘terror attack’ by Abu al-Qi’an, and further, that he had links to Daesh (ISIS).

Forensic Architecture’s investigation of the incident, in collaboration with the activist group ActiveStills, helped to expose the falseness of this narrative, and established the veracity of local residents and activist claims that Abu al-Qi’an lost control of his vehicle and ran over Levi only after being shot by Israeli policemen, subsequently left to bleed out and die.

This analysis assisted in forcing the police to retract its narrative of the events, and led to an internal police investigation yet to be concluded.

“..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


Forensic Architecture team

  • Ariel Caine (Project Coordinator)
  • Eyal Weizman (Project Coordinator)
  • Oren Ziv
  • Christina Varvia
  • William Winfield
  • Stefan Laxness
  • Daniel Mann
  • Ana Naomi de Sousa
  • Nichola Czyz

Collaborating Organizations

  • Activestills (Keren Manor & Yotam Ronen)



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