Ramallah, July 23, 2018—Israeli forces fatally shot a 14-year-old Palestinian with live ammunition at an entrance to Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem in the West Bank during an arrest raid Monday morning.
Arkan Thaer Halami Mizher was shot in the chest after early morning confrontations ensued between residents and Israeli forces who raided the Bethlehem-area camp, according to initial Defense for Children International - Palestine reports. Israeli forces closed the main road, preventing ambulances from reaching the area. The child was taken by private car to Beit Jala Governmental hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“Israeli forces regularly fire live ammunition during night raids in the West Bank,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program director at DCIP. “Live ammunition is a lethal amount of force and puts Palestinian children at grave risk.”
According to initial reports collected by DCIP, Israeli soldiers arrived to Dheisheh refugee camp around 2 a.m. Israeli forces fired tear gas and live ammunition when confrontations broke out on the main road in front of the camp and continued into the morning as Israeli soldiers detained two camp residents.
Arkan was in a main alleyway entrance to the refugee camp next to the main road where confrontations were taking place at the time he was shot. A medical examiner told DCIP the bullet entered Arkan’s chest near the heart and exited through his back.
Local Palestinian media reported that dozens of others were injured during the incident.
The Israeli military said in a statement that it opened an internal investigation into Arkan’s death, according to Israeli media. The military said they carried out an arrest raid in the camp when residents began “throwing improvised explosive devices, Molotov cocktails and stones” at soldiers.
Accountability for fatal shootings of minors by Israeli forces remains extremely rare. Only one incident, the fatal shooting of Nadeem Nawara, 17, in May 2014, has resulted in both an investigation and indictment.
This latest child fatality comes after a lethal first half of 2018, during which Israeli forces killed nearly three times the number of children killed over the same period last year.
According to international law, lethal force may only be used when a direct and mortal threat to life or of serious injury exists.
Arkan is among 6 Palestinian children to be killed by Israeli forces in July alone and at least 31 to be killed since the start of 2018.
While the majority of child fatalities this year have taken place in the context of protests along the Gaza Strip perimeter fence, five children have been killed in the West Bank, including Arkan.