Ramallah, March 4, 2023—Israeli forces shot and killed a 17-year-old Palestinian boy near Qalqilya in the northern occupied West Bank on Thursday.
Mohammad Nidal Ibrahim Salim, 17, was shot in the back with live ammunition by Israeli forces around 7:40 p.m. on March 2 in Azzun, a Palestinian town northeast of Qalqilya in the northern occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Mohammad sustained a single gunshot wound as he fled through nearby agricultural fields. The bullet entered the right side of his back and lodged in his right lung. He was first taken to Azzun Emergency Hospital and then was transferred by ambulance to Qalqilya Governmental Hospital where he was dead on arrival.
“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.”
Mohammad and about six other boys were walking west from Azzun toward the neighboring village of Izbat al-Tabib when an Israeli military vehicle approached them near the western area of Azzun. Confrontations ensued with stones and molotov cocktails thrown at the Israeli military vehicle, according to information collected by DCIP.
Within minutes, a white vehicle containing Israeli forces approached from Azzun surprising Mohammad and the others. Mohammad and the boys fled to the south and were about 70 meters (230 feet) away from the Israeli military vehicles when several Israeli soldiers got out and opened up with heavy fire targeting Mohammad and the others while they fled, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Another 16-year-old Palestinian boy sustained a gunshot wound to his abdomen and remains in the intensive care unit at Qalqilya Governmental Hospital.
After they were shot, Mohammad and the other injured boy continued to flee in different directions for about 200 meters (660 feet). The 16-year-old boy stopped on agricultural land near a residential building and shouted for help. Palestinian residents carried him to Azzun Emergency Hospital. Palestinian residents continued to search for Mohammad for about 30 minutes. They found him about 60 meters (200 feet) south of the other boy. When found, Mohammad had lost a lot of blood and did not have a pulse. He was placed in a private car and taken to Azzun Emergency Hospital before both boys were transported to Qalqilya Governmental Hospital in an ambulance.
Mohammad is the 14th Palestinian child killed by Israeli forces in 2023, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces have shot and killed 13 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.