Ramallah, February 23, 2023—Israeli forces shot and killed a 16-year-old Palestinian boy during a military raid on Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank yesterday.
Mohammad Farid Mohammad Haj Ahmad, 16, was shot in the head by an Israeli soldier passing by in an armored Israeli military vehicle around 1 p.m. on February 22 in Nablus, a Palestinian city in the northern occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Mohammad sustained a gunshot wound below his right ear from about three meters (10 feet) away as he stood in front of a clinic entrance near the roadside as Israeli forces drove past. An older man and two young men were also struck with live fire. Mohammad and the other three injured Palestinians were transferred to An-Najah hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“Palestinian children live in a hyper-militarized context where the Israeli military's incursions into Palestinian communities to arrest and intimidate Palestinian civilians is the norm,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “This Israeli military incursion into Nablus happened in broad daylight—it is clear that Israeli forces feel confident in their ability to shoot and kill Palestinians, including children, with complete impunity.”
Video of the incident shows that Israeli forces fired upon Mohammad as he stood with several other Palestinian civilians in front of Al-Rahma clinic on Al-Huriya street in Nablus as a Palestinian man armed with a handgun fled in their direction after firing on the Israeli military vehicle convoy as Israeli forces were withdrawing from Nablus. No Israeli soldiers are seen deployed outside of the heavily-armored Israeli military vehicles.
Around 150 Israeli soldiers in Israeli military vehicles entered the old city of Nablus around 10 a.m. February 22 reportedly to carry out arrest operations. During the military incursion, Israeli forces shot and killed 11 Palestinians, including Mohammad, and injured more than 80, according to Al Jazeera.
The older Palestinian man shot at the same time as Mohammad, 61-year-old Abdulaziz Al-Ashqar, was also pronounced dead.
Mohammad is the 13th Palestinian child killed by Israeli forces in 2023, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces have shot and killed 12 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, 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.