The Death of Bassem Abu Rahma

Footage of the event from three different sources synced

This investigation was organized around a reconstruction of the events of the 17 April 2009. A protest at Bil‘in in which a protestor, Bassem Ibrahim Abu Rahma, was struck and killed by a tear gas grenade. Mr. Abu Rahma was standing on the eastern side of the separation barrier when the munition struck him in the chest causing massive internal bleeding which led to his death. Situ Studio/Forensic Architecture’s findings focused upon establishing the probable angle at which the munition that killed Mr. Abu Rahma was discharged and addressed assertions made by the Israeli Defense Forces that the round in question struck a wire in the fence causing it to change direction and hit the victim.

Publicly available specifications for the 40mm tear gas grenade (Model 4431 Powder Barricade Penetrating, CS manufactured by the Pennsylvania based Combined Systems Inc.) were used for the ballistic analysis. In addition to the munition’s technical specifications, the analysis also incorporated video footage from three handheld digital cameras that recorded the event. These videos were used to determine the position of the victim at the site as well as to verify the trajectory of the munition as it was fired from across the barrier. In a single frame of one of the videos, the munition was visible fractions of a second before striking the victim standing less than a metre from the videographer. After analysing the video footage and conducting a series of calculations at various launch angles it appeared highly improbable that the lethal round was discharged at 60 degrees or above (the minimum angle specified in The Open Fire Regulations for indirect fire).


 Two diagrams: Extract from the Abu Rahma report


Video analysis of the flight of cartridge

Video analysis from the other angle