According to Israeli army, the soldier firing the canister "did not see any people in the line of fire" and was not criminally liable.
Mustafa Tamimi, a 28-year-old Palestinian taxi driver, was fatally hit by a tear gas canister by Israeli forces fired from close range and hitting him directly in the face on 9 December 2011 during a weekly protest in Nabi Salih, West Bank. The tear gas canister that struck him was fired from the rear door of a military vehicle at which he was throwing stones while running after it. The incident raised questions about Israeli military behavior when engaging with the demonstrators.
Some Israeli military officials used social media to defend the army. Israeli army statements said that Tamimi was throwing a rock when he was targeted and that the soldier firing the canister "did not see any people in the line of fire" and was not criminally liable. Tamimi's brother, Louai, rejected the investigation saying he was not approached by the investigators although he said he witnessed the incident as he was standing close to the army jeep at the time of the shot.
Residents of Nabi Saleh had protested against the Halamish settlement since 1976 when it was first built. Demonstrations were stepped up in 2009 when the settlers claimed a fresh-water spring historically used by the village. The protests were regularly disbanded by Israeli troops using tear gas, and were often accompanied by stone-throwing by local youths. Sarit Michaeli, a spokeswoman for the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem, who was in Nabi Saleh, said she was aware of dozens of cases where, "in violation of explicit regulations", tear gas canisters were fired directly at protesters by Israeli soldiers and border policemen.