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Palestinian boy shot dead near Bethlehem amid rising tensions
Relatives mourn over the body of Abdel-Rahman Obeidallah, 13, who was shot dead by the Israeli army during clashes at Aida refugee camp near the West Bank town of Bethlehem on October 5, 2015. (Photo: AFP / Musa Al-Shaer)
Ramallah, October 5, 2015—Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian boy near Bethlehem on Monday, as a wave of violence swept across the West Bank and Jerusalem.
Witnesses told Defense for Children International – Palestine that Abdel-Rahman Shadi Obeidallah, 13, stood with another child, Othman Qaraqea, 11, at a distance of about 70 meters (230 feet) from clashes that erupted between Israeli forces and Palestinians near Aida refugee camp. Around 1:45 p.m., an Israeli soldier fired three shots in their direction.
Doctors at Beit Jala Hospital said Abdel-Rahman died of a single gunshot wound to the chest. Othman sustained a bullet wound to the leg and received outpatient care.
Witnesses said that neither boy had participated in the confrontations.
“The initial investigation we conducted at the scene suggests that 13-year-old Abdel-Rahman Obeidallah may have been unlawfully killed,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, DCIP’s Accountability Program director. “His tragic death joins a long list of similar incidents where Israeli authorities have provided de facto impunity for soldiers.”
An Israeli military official said that Israeli forces used “riot dispersal means” at first, the BBC reported. “After seeing that the situation is getting worse, they used 0.22 caliber Ruger rifle. A hit was confirmed.”
During the clashes, a 17-year-old also sustained a gunshot wound to the leg, while a 12-year-old suffered injuries from a rubber-coated metal bullet to the head.
Protests have erupted throughout the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem following increasing tensions over access to the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City. The mosque lies in a compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount. Both faiths consider the site sacred.
On Sunday evening, Israeli forces killed Huthayfa Othman Suleiman, 18, during clashes near the West Bank city of Tulkarem, Palestinian media reported.
On Saturday, Israeli police gunned down Muhannad Halabi, a 19-year-old Palestinian law student, after he stabbed to death an off-duty Israeli soldier and a Rabbi in the Old City, according to news report. Hours later, police shot dead Fadi Alloun, 18, near the Old City’s Damascus Gate in East Jerusalem for allegedly stabbing an Israeli boy. Two days prior, suspected Palestinian gunmen killed two Israeli settlers near the West Bank village of Beit Furik.
At least 100 Palestinians sustained injuries at the hands of Israeli forces throughout the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, over the weekend, according to news reports.
Abdel-Rahman Obeidallah is the fourth child killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank this year.
On August 1, Laith Fadil al-Khalidi, 15, died of gunshot wounds he sustained the previous day during clashes with Israeli soldiers at the Atara military checkpoint near the West Bank town of Birzeit.
In July, a senior military officer shot dead Mohammad Sami Ali Kasba, 17, from a distance of about 15 meters (49 feet) near Qalandia checkpoint, the main entryway between Ramallah and Jerusalem.
In April, Israeli forces killed Ali Abu Ghannam, 17, at the East Jerusalem Zayyem checkpoint following an alleged altercation with soldiers.
In recent weeks, Israeli authorities amended open-fire rules to allow Israeli forces to fire live ammunition during protests in Jerusalem when there is a “threat to life.” Previously, the regulations permitted live ammunition only when there is a direct, mortal threat to the life of a police officer or soldier. The move comes as Israeli officials also push forward stricter sentencing guidelines and fines for stone-throwers.