Israeli forces fatally shoot 14-year-old Palestinian boy in the back near Ramallah

Jul 10, 2024
14-year-old Ghassan Gharib Hussein Zahran was shot and killed by Israeli forces in the central occupied West Bank yesterday. (Photo: Courtesy of the Zahran family)

Ramallah, July 10, 2024—Israeli forces shot and killed a 14-year-old Palestinian boy in Deir Abu Mashal village yesterday. 

Ghassan Gharib Hussein Zahran, 14, was shot and killed around 2 p.m. on July 9 in the Palestinian village of Deir Abu Mashal, west of Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Ghassan, accompanied by two other children, was playing at the entrance of the village near the Israeli-only road Route 465. Three Israeli soldiers traveling in a civilian vehicle on Route 465 fired live ammunition at the children from a distance of 80 to 100 meters (262 to 328 feet) away. Ghassan was struck with a bullet in the back which exited from his abdomen. A Palestinian vehicle transported him to a medical clinic in Deir Abu Mashal village, then an ambulance brought him to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah, where he was pronounced dead on arrival around 3:15 p.m.

“Systemic impunity creates an ultra permissive context where Israeli forces know no bounds and routinely shoot to kill Palestinian children in circumstances where there is no imminent threat to life,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “Unlawful killings of Palestinian children have become the norm as Israeli forces become increasingly empowered to use intentional lethal force in situations that are not justified. In short, these are war crimes with no consequence.”

A group of Israeli settlers gathered after Israeli soldiers shot Ghassan and began throwing stones at Palestinian village residents attempting to reach him. Israeli forces opened fire on the Palestinian residents to prevent them from reaching the child, who remained lying on the ground bleeding for 15 to 20 minutes.

Israeli forces and settlers have killed 56 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank in 2024, including two United States citizens, according to documentation collected by DCIP. 

137 Palestinian children have been killed in the occupied West Bank since October 7, according to documentation collected by DCIP, when the Israeli military began a full-scale military offensive on the Gaza Strip.

In 2023, Israeli forces and settlers killed at least 121 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces and settlers shot and killed 103 Palestinian children with live ammunition, 13 Palestinian children were killed in drone strikes, four Palestinian children were killed by missiles fired from a U.S.-sourced Apache attack helicopter, and one child was killed in an Israeli warplane airstrike.

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.

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