Forensic Blood Analysis

To our knowledge, no blood was ever recovered from the scene and subjected to forensic analysis that would affirm or contravene the allegations of a shooting. No one other than Palestinian militants, or “securty forces” or those cooperating with them could approach the scene following the incident. The Palestinian authorities tasked with the investigation simply assumed the conclusion of their “investigation” – and thus excused themselves from conducting one.

Major General Saeb al -Ajez, appointed as police chief for the West Bank and Gaza in 2004 by then-Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat) made the following comments when asked about the Palestinian investigation of the Al Durah affair

Ajez: “When there are differences in the assessment of a specific case – when further inquiries prove necessary- then, of course, an investigation is mounted. But when there is an agreement over the identity of the culprit , then there is no need to conduct a detailed investigation.”

Interviewer: “Then what do you all agree on?”

Ajez: “That it was the Israeli side that committed this murder”.

France2′s footage, shot by Talal Abu Rahma, is the only video record of the incident itself. It was solely upon this footage – and Abu Rahma’s characterization of its content — that France2 based its claim of a shooting. The examination of any blood evidence at the scene is limited to the video taken on the day of the incident and the day following, by France2.

Talal Abu Rahma and Jamal Al Durah  maintain, inter alia, that Muhammad Al Durah was hit by three shots in all – one of which “exploded his  stomach”, per Abu Rahma. Charles Enderlin of France2 adds that Muhammad’s body evidenced an “exit wound” in his back. Dr. Abed El Raqez El-Masry, the morgue pathologist at Shifa Medical Center -who performed a limited autopsy on the body that France2 asserted was Muhammad’s – adds that Muhammad was also struck by a bullet that entered Muhammad’s  chest and exited his left thigh, shredding major blood vessels.  Jamal Al Durah also claims that he was shot multiple times (either nine or 12 times depending upon the account) in his hand, leg and lower body. Talal Abu Rahma purports that the rounds which struck Jamal were “explosion bullets”.

If the above allegations  concerning the nature of the Al Durahs’ injuries were accurate, both Jamal and Muhammad should  have been visibly drenched in blood and the wall behind them should also have evidenced extensive blood-spatter. Indeed, the gore that the injuries alleged should have occasioned would likely have precluded broadcast of the video during prime time news.

However, there is no blood spatter to be seen anywhere in the video of the scene. A review of France2’s footage of the incident shows no blood on Jamal whatsoever -although he was supposedly hit between 9 and 12 times – and none anywhere on the wall behind the Al Durahs- despite the purported exit wound in Muhammad’s back. At the end of the video, footage of the ground where the Al Durahs were located shows no blood on the ground, although Talal Abu Rahma claims Muhammad lay on the ground for at least 17 minutes bleeding from the wound that “exploded his stomach”.

The only possible indication of blood on either of the Al Durahs – a reddish blotch which appears on Muhammad’s right pant leg and then disappears entirely later in the video, only to reappear near Muhammad’s stomach — is also inconsistent with the hemorrhaging alleged by those who claim that IDF fire caused the Al Durahs grievous harm. Indeed, a close examination of this transitory blotch in particular might provide an essential key in determining the salient facts underlying the production of Tala Abu Rahma’s video footage of the incident

In essence, the Palestinians make nine claims about the injuries allegedly sustained by the Al Durahs at the scene – Let’s analyze the claims one by one, to test their internal consistency and plausibility. Such analysis is fundamental to any serious evaluation of the claims’ veracity.

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Claim: Muhammad Al Durah was shot in the knee

Progenitors of the claim

Talal Abu Rahma (the cameraman who filmed the scene); Jamal Al Durah (father of Muhammad Al Durah); Dr. Abed El Raqez El-Masry, the morgue pathologist at Shifa Medical Center who performed a limited autopsy on the body that France2 claims was that of Muhammad Al Durah) all say Muhammad was shot in the knee.

The video and photo evidence

Aldurah.com critique

The video shows no blood on either of Muhammad’s knees. A transitory reddish blotch does appear on Muhammad’s right pant leg near his upper thigh. The blotch then disappears, only to reappear near Muhammad’s stomach.

This critique is expanded here

Claim: Muhammad was shot in the stomach and the shot “exploded his stomach”

Progenitors of the claim

Talal Abu Rahma, Jamal Al Durah, The ambulance driver who purported to evacuate Muhammad Al Durah to Shifa Hospital and Dr. El Masry all claim that Muhammad suffered a grievous/fatal stomach wound.   

The video and photo evidence

• Video of Talal Abu Rahma's testimony: "The second bullet exploded his stomach"
• Video of Charles Enderlin saying Talal did not see the fatal shot – but there was blood.
• Video of the ambulance driver testifying that the boy’s intestines were outside his body [link].
• Video of Dr. El Masry detailing the wounds allegedly suffered by Muhammad.

Aldurah.com critique

A stomach wound of this nature should have produced massive blood loss (and blood spatter, if the bullet “exploded” Muhammad’s stomach” – as claimed by Abu Rahma, or was caused by “explosion bullets” (sic.) which Abu Rahma claimed were being used by the IDF that day (see below). The video evidence of the alleged incident and its aftermath – and video from the following day - is inconsistent with such bleeding.

This critique is expanded here

Claim: “The wound in the back is an exit wound”

Progenitors of the claim

Charles Enderlin – based upon photos of Dr. El Masry’s autopsy of (the body alleged to belong to) Muhammad at the Shifa Hospital – says Muhammad “…was not shot from the back. The wound in the back is an exit wound.”
Jamal Al Durah also claims a bullet exited Muhammad’s back.

The video and photo evidence

• Video of Charles Enderlin’s testimony that "the boy was not shot from the back. The wound in the back is an exit wound".
• Video of Esther Schapira’s interview of Jamal Al Durah "the second bullet came out his back".

Aldurah.com critique

The video evidence of the alleged incident and its aftermath – and video from the day following - is inconsistent with Muhammad‘s having suffered such a wound at the scene of the alleged shooting. There is no blood spatter visible on Jamal nor on the wall behind Muhammad.

This critique is expanded here

Claim: “Sometimes you have internal bleeding. Some-times you have some injuries where a bullet gets in and out sometimes it doesn’t bleed.”

Progenitors of the claim

Charles Enderlin, claiming that there was blood visible (on Muhammad) and disparaging Karsenty’s and Shachaf’s claim that the red is a “handkerchief” tries to explain apparent lack of blood with a possible explanation. 

The video and photo evidence

• Video snippet "Blood or Handkerchief, Part I".
• Video of the effect when a single high-velocity round hits various objects.

Aldurah.com critique

Charles Enderlin says he is not a doctor – and suggests Esther Schapira should speak to doctors to explain the lack of blood, but also offers two alternative explanations of why a bullet wound might not produce bleeding. Even if either of the proposed explanations could account for one or two bloodless wounds (which itself would be a stretch for wounds caused by high velocity – and certainly explosive - rounds) Enderlin himself stressed that at least one of the rounds produced an exit wound in the back. The ambulance driver who allegedly transported Muhammad to the hospital reported that Muhammad’s intestines were outside of his body when the ambulance driver collected him [link]. (See further below.) The pathologist, Dr. El Masry, stated that a second bullet exited the boy’s left hip after shredding major blood vessels. Is it remotely plausible that these injuries and those caused by all the remaining 10-13 shots alleged to have hit Jamal and Muhammad produced no blood to speak of?

This critique is expanded here

Claim: The boy lay bleeding from his stomach wound for 17 minutes

Progenitors of the claim

Talal Abu Rahma claims that Muhammad lay bleeding for 17 minutes before an ambulance came to pick up the boy and the father.

The video and photo evidence

• Video interview: Abu Rahma says the boy bled for at least 17 minutes
• Video of the scene immediately following the alleged shooting as contained in Talal Abu Rahma’s footage – also in footage taken the next morning which appears in an Italian investigation of the scene
• Video footage taken at the press conference
• ‘Stills’ of barrel taken the morning after and at the press conference
• Film from Reuters [link] and AP [link] show a piece of asphalt in front of the barrel and a stone on top. A Palestinian general replaces the stone with the piece of asphalt, for some reason - and then the stone is switched back. Enderlin mentions the switch… he mentions this in Charles Enderlin Audio Clip [link]

Aldurah.com critique

Bleeding in a prone position for 17 minutes from a wound that “exploded” a victim’s stomach would normally leave copious amounts of blood on the ground beneath the wound. However, there is no indication of blood on the ground were Muhammad lay...

This critique is expanded here

Claim by ambulance driver: when he picked up Muhammad, the boy’s intestines were outside of his body

Progenitors of the claim

The ambulance driver who allegedly picked up the Muhammad and Jamal at the scene following the shooting reported that Muhammad’s innards were expelled onto the ground as a result of the shooting.   

The video and photo evidence

• Video of the ambulance driver’s testimony
• Video of Muhammad with pixelated stomach wound
• Video of Dr. Tawil (admitting doctor at Shifa Hospital) describing arrival of Muhammad.

Aldurah.com critique

See the previous two claims for issues presented by this testimony.

This critique is expanded here

Claim: Multiple bullets struck Jamal’s legs, body, and arm

Progenitors of the claim

Talal Abu Rahma and Jamal Al Durah both testified Jamal was hit by multiple rounds in the legs body and arm. Jamal said his body was “full of holes.”

The video and photo evidence

• Video of Abu Rahma stating that "then the father took more bullets, spinning dizzy like this…"
• Video of Jamal’s testimony: Jamal says he received 12 shots in his body, and that the lower body and his arms were full of holes
• Video of Tamman recalling what Jamal told him
• Video of Jamal at the military hospital in Jordan shows him with bloody bandages on his hand – and bandages on his leg
• Video 'Questions about the Blood'

Aldurah.com critique

See earlier claims – All these injuries should have resulted in a lot of bleeding for Jamal. Indeed, he should have resembled Swiss cheese by the end of the video – but the video indicates he is completely intact and shows no bleeding, at all.

This critique is expanded here

Claim: Jamal Al Durah, at least, was injured by explosive bullets fired by the IDF

Progenitors of the claim

Talal Abu Rahma claims that there was no autopsy of Muhammad (implying that the claim regarding explosive bullets cannot be justified by the autopsy report) and, as for Jamal’s injuries, only the Israelis had “explosion (sic.) bullets with them” and the Jordanian report showed that Jamal was hit by explosive bullets.

The video and photo evidence

• Talal’s testimony about explosive bullets
• Video noted above regarding the claim above that ‘The boy lay bleeding from his stomach wound for 17 minutes’.

Aldurah.com critique

If this allegation were true, then Jamal Al Durah should have resembled Swiss Cheese by the end of the video. However, he is completely intact and shows no sign of bleeding or physical injury . Talal Abu Rahma’s “explosion bullets” claim seems to have been designed to account for the fact that not a single bullet has been produced by France2 or anyone else to support the allegations of shooting. 

This critique is expanded here

Claim: There was blood at the scene, and none on the ground by the barrel the next morning

Progenitors of the claim

Charles Enderlin and others allege that there was blood visible at the scene and on the ground the following morning.
But that allegation is belied by the video and photographic evidence noted regarding the claim above that ‘The boy lay bleeding from his stomach wound for 17 minutes’.

The video and photo evidence

• Enderlin’s testimony
• See video and photographic evidence noted above regarding the claim above that 'The boy lay bleeding from his stomach wound for 17 minutes’

Aldurah.com critique

Enderlin’s testimony in audio clip #5 alludes to the ‘claim’ (illustrated to be factual by the slowed-down footage) that the blood seen during the scene originates with a red handkerchief.
We saw earlier that footage of the scene at the time of (and immediately following) the alleged shooting showed no blood at the scene. We also have footage of the scene, taken before the Palestinian press conference, showing no blood at the scene.
Enderlin’s long-standing insistence that the footage from the Palestinian press conference shows ‘blood’, substantiating the Palestinian narrative of events, indicates that he did not view the evidence with a critical eye. The bloody rag – a stark bright red, the lack of any blood spatter on the wall and the location of the ‘blood’ vis a vis the location of where Muhammad allegedly bled to death should have raised some doubt in Enderlin’s mind.

This critique is expanded here

Conclusion

Pictures drawn by Palestinian youngsters of the incident almost always depict a good deal of blood at the scene. Even children have enough common sense to understand that shootings like the one alleged here produce copious bleeding. However, the signs of injury visible on Jamal and Muhammad Al Durah in all the contemporaneous photographic evidence of the incident are inconsistent with fresh blood.

The lack of actual blood at the scene might be what inspired the producers of an Al Qaeda recruitment video entitled "Shahid's Blood" to overlay a cartoonish deluge of red over the video footage clipped from the end of the 'shooting' scene.