Ramallah, February 7, 2023—Israeli forces shot and killed a 16-year-old Palestinian boy outside of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank this morning.
Hamza Amjad Yousef Ashqar, 16, was shot and killed by Israeli forces around 3:20 a.m. today during an Israeli military incursion into Al-Masaken Al-Sha’bya, a Palestinian neighborhood in Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. As Israeli military vehicles withdrew from the area, Palestinian youth confronted Israeli forces. One boy with Hamza allegedly threw a piece of metal at the Israeli military vehicles, while the other boys allegedly threw stones at the vehicles from a distance of about 30 meters (98 feet). An Israeli soldier inside one of the Israeli military vehicles fired two live bullets at Hamza, striking him in his mouth and the left side of his waist. A private car transferred Hamza to Rafidia Surgical Hospital in Nablus and doctors pronounced him dead around 3:45 a.m.
“Israeli forces routinely resort to intentional lethal force in situations not justified under international law and make no effort to impartially investigate or ensure that Israeli soldiers act in accordance with international standards,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “Israeli forces’ near-daily incursions into Palestinian communities too often result in an Israeli soldier’s bullet in a Palestinian child’s body.”
The bullet that struck Hamza’s mouth settled in his neck, according to information collected by DCIP. The second bullet settled in Hamza’s waist.
Hamza and his friends are from New Askar refugee camp, located about 600 meters (1968 feet) away from Al-Masaken Al-Sha’bya.
Israeli forces have killed nine Palestinian children so far this year, including eight killed in the occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP.
Israeli forces shot 17-year-old Wadea Abdulaziz Meri Abu Ramouz on January 25 then withheld his body after he succumbed to his injuries on January 27. Abdullah Marwan Juma’a Mousa, 17, and Wasim Amjad Aref Abu Jaes, 16, were killed by Israeli forces in the morning of January 26 in Jenin refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank. Amr Khaled Lutfi Al-Khmour, 14, was shot and killed by Israeli forces on January 16 near the entrance to Dheisheh refugee camp. Israeli forces shot and killed 16-year-old Amer Ghazi Mahmoud Zeitoun in Balata refugee camp in the early morning of January 5. Israeli forces shot and killed 15-year-old Adam Issam Shaker Ayyad on January 3 in Dheisheh refugee camp. On January 1, an Israeli sniper shot 17-year-old Fuad Mahmoud Ahmad Abed in Kafr Dan, west of Jenin, and he was pronounced dead early in the morning on January 2.
10-year-old Nayef Khaled Nayef Al-Odat died on January 26 from head injuries sustained in an Israeli airstrike last August in the southern Gaza Strip.
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.