Four Palestinian children killed in Israeli military offensive on Jenin

Jul 04, 2023
Israeli forces have killed four Palestinian children in Jenin, including 16-year-olds Abdulrahman Hasan Ahmad Hardan (left) and Mustafa Imad Ali Qassem (right) since beginning a large-scale military operation yesterday. (Photos: Courtesy of the Hardan and Qassem families)

Ramallah, July 4, 2023—Israeli forces killed four Palestinian children in Jenin since launching a military offensive on the city yesterday.

An Israeli sniper shot 16-year-old Abdulrahman Hasan Ahmad Hardan in the head with live ammunition around 1 p.m. on July 4 as he stood in front of Al-Amal Hospital in Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Abdulrahman was unarmed and there were no confrontations between Israeli forces and armed Palestinians in the area when he was shot. Abdulrahman was transferred to Ibn Sina Hospital and was pronounced dead around 6 p.m. today. 

Mustafa Imad Ali Qassem, also 16, was gravely injured by an Israeli airstrike in the afternoon of July 3 in Jenin refugee camp, according to initial information collected by DCIP. Mustafa suffered extensive burns and shrapnel wounds. Israeli forces handed Mustafa’s body over to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society later that evening.

“The international community delivers impunity and weapons to Israeli forces knowing that Palestinian children bear the brunt of Israeli war crimes,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “Unconditional support for Israeli military operations perpetuates war crimes against an occupied population, emboldens an Israeli apartheid regime, and ensures complicity in the destruction of Palestinian children’s families, homes, communities, and lives.” 

Israeli forces closed off all of the exits from Jenin refugee camp and continue to prevent ambulances from reaching injured Palestinians. These barriers have made it difficult to collect detailed information on Palestinian child casualties.

The Israeli military operation extended into July 4 and is ongoing. More than 300 Palestinian families from Jenin refugee camp have evacuated due to intensifying Israeli airstrikes on the camp. 

“Karim Khan, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, must at a minimum issue a preventative statement in an effort to deter ongoing Israeli war crimes,” said Eqtaish.

Israeli forces have been entering the houses of Palestinian families in Jenin refugee camp, aiming weapons at children and terrifying families before demolishing the walls of the homes.

Nouruddin Husam Yousef Marshoud, 15, and 17-year-old Majdi Younis Saud Ararawi were killed by Israeli snipers stationed on dozens of rooftops around Jenin refugee camp around 11:30 a.m. on July 3, according to initial information collected by DCIP. Nouruddin sustained a gunshot wound to the head while Majdi sustained a gunshot wound to the chest. DCIP continues to investigate these killings as the Israeli military assault is ongoing. 

During the Israeli military operation in Jenin refugee camp, Israeli forces destroyed many Palestinian homes by blowing up their walls. In addition, Palestinian civilian infrastructure including roads, several mosques, the Jenin Sport Club, and the Jenin Freedom Theatre were bombed. Israeli forces detained many Palestinian children, whose cases DCIP is following closely. Israeli forces also shut off electricity, water, and telecommunications access to Palestinians living in Jenin refugee camp. 

This large-scale aerial and ground offensive by Israeli forces follows increasing military incursions into Jenin and Jenin refugee camp over the past several months. Ten Palestinian children have been killed by Israeli forces in the Jenin governorate in 2023, according to documentation collected by DCIP.

About 14,000 Palestinians live in Jenin refugee camp, according to UNRWA. The camp sits on 0.42 square kilometers, making it one of the most densely populated areas in the occupied West Bank.

11 Palestinians have been confirmed killed by Israeli forces in Jenin since the military offensive began yesterday, including four children, and at least 120 are wounded, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

35 Palestinian children have been killed in 2023, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces have shot and killed at least 26 Palestinian children and killed two Palestinian children with targeted drone strikes in the occupied West Bank. Six Palestinian children in Gaza were killed in the May 2023 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip, and a 10-year-old Palestinian child in Gaza succumbed to head wounds he sustained during the Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip in August 2022.

Under international law, intentional lethal force is only justified in circumstances where a direct threat to life or of serious injury is present. However, investigations and evidence collected by DCIP regularly suggest that Israeli forces use lethal force against Palestinian children in circumstances that may amount to extrajudicial or wilful killings.

53 Palestinian children were killed in 2022, according to documentation collected by DCIP, including 36 Palestinian children shot and killed by Israeli forces or settlers in the occupied West Bank. DCIP documented the killing of 17 Palestinian children between August 5–7 after Israeli forces launched a military offensive in the Gaza Strip.


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