Israeli Troops have reportedly shot and killed a 15-year-old Palestinian boy in the West Bank. Four others have also been injured in the incident that took place on early Tuesday. The Israeli Army has said that the boy’s death was an accident.
Representatives of the Israeli Defence Forces have claimed that the gunfire was directed towards Palestinians who were throwing stones and bombs at Israeli vehicles. And while the military were in pursuit of the perpetrators, the vehicle the teen was riding in caught stray bullets, which led to the boy’s ‘accidental’ death.
“Nearby forces acted in order to protect additional passing vehicles from immediate danger and fired towards suspects. From the initial inquiry it appears that uninvolved bystanders were mistakenly hit during the pursuit. The IDF is investigating the circumstances.”
The IDF also clarified on the events leading to the incident. According to them, at around 1 am on Tuesday morning, some Palestinians began attacking Israeli vehicles on the busy Highway 443. The perpetrators reportedly used stones and petrol bombs, and three Israelis were injured in the attacks.
Palestinian officials at Ramallah have identified the teenager as Mahmoud Rafat Badran from the village of Beit-Uhr-Eh-Tahta. They have claimed that the vehicle carrying Badran was attacked by the Israeli army, which led to his death and four others being injured. Three of the four Palestinians that were injured in the incident are currently under treatment in a medical center in Ramallah, while one is under treatment in Israel.
Abdul Karim Qasim, the head of the local council of the village of Beit Ore-Tahta, told Reuters that the boys had been out celebrating Ramadan and were returning home from a late-night pool party. He also said that there were a total of seven people in the vehicle, all of whom were related. The passengers were in their teens and early 20s.
The father of the boy who was killed talked to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, where he further elaborated on the unfortunate event.
“As they approached the passage, a car stood on the bridge, next to a man with a gun who opened fire on the vehicle. As far as I could understand, some of the passengers jumped out of the vehicle and some remained inside, and were hit, including my son who was very seriously wounded and died a short time later.”
The boy’s father believes that the attack was undiscriminating, and that the Israeli forces attacked with an intention to kill. He says that he will seek justice from the world court. The general secretary of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, Saeb Erekat, has called the incident a “cold-blooded assassination” and claims that the boy was “murdered.”
Highway 443 connects Jerusalem to Modi’in and is used by Israelis as an alternative path between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. It cuts through the West Bank, where it passes through several Palestinian villages.
In the past nine months, Palestinians have carried out dozens of attacks, that include stabbings, shootings and car ramming assaults, on Israelis. A total of 32 Israeli nationals and two visiting US citizens have been killed in these incidents.
And during the same period of time, the Israeli Defense Forces have killed at least 197 Palestinians via gunfire. Some 134 of the 197 have been labeled as assailants by the IDF, while the remainder are said to have been killed during protests and clashes.
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