Israeli forces kill, confiscate the body of 16-year-old Palestinian boy

Mar 06, 2024
Israeli forces shot and killed 16-year-old Mohammad Hisham Mohammad Shehada and are withholding his body from his family. (Photo: Courtesy of the Shehada family)

Ramallah, March 6, 2024—Israeli forces killed a 16-year-old Palestinian boy in the northern occupied West Bank yesterday then confiscated his body.

Mohammad Hisham Mohammad Shehada, 16, was shot and killed by Israeli forces at around 4:15 p.m on March 5, near the illegal Israeli settlement Yitzhar in the northern occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Mohammad allegedly attempted to carry out a stabbing attack when Israeli forces shot him several times, then continued shooting him after he fell to the ground. The Israeli forces refused to allow the Palestinian Red Crescent Society ambulance to reach the scene, which caused Mohammad to bleed out without receiving medical care. Mohammad’s body was transported by an Israeli ambulance to an unknown location and remains withheld.

“Mohammad grew up in a hyper militarized environment where Israeli soldiers and settlers enact violence against Palestinians side by side,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “Palestinian children cannot rest even in death as Israeli authorities continue confiscating children’s bodies and withholding them from their families indefinitely.”

Mohammad’s father received a phone call after the incident yesterday from an Israeli intelligence officer who summoned him to Huwara interrogation and detention center. The interrogation lasted about two hours, during which the intelligence officer asked several questions about Mohammad. Mohammad’s father requested to see his son, but the intelligence officer refused and informed him that a video of the moment his child carried out the stabbing operation would be published.

DCIP could not determine the location or number of gunshot wounds sustained by Mohammad since Israeli authorities are withholding his body.

A second Palestinian child died yesterday from injuries sustained on February 29 during an Israeli military incursion into Jenin. 

Nouraddin Ibrahim Mohammad Yasin, 17, succumbed to his injuries around 5:30 p.m. on March 5 after Israeli forces shot him in the head around 10 a.m. on February 29 in the city of Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Nouraddin was shot in the head by an Israeli soldier inside a heavily armored Israeli military vehicle from a distance of about 150 to 200 meters (492 to 656 feet) away. Nouraddin was immediately transported by an ambulance to Jenin Governmental Hospital, before being transferred to Ibn Sina Hospital in Jenin. He underwent several surgical procedures in an attempt to save his life but was pronounced dead last night.

Nouraddin Ibrahim Mohammad Yasin, 17.

Israeli special forces units entered the Abu Duhair Mountain area in Jenin using a Mercedes bus with Palestinian license plates around 10 a.m on February 29. The special forces surrounded a residential building and arrested one young Palestinian man from inside. Meanwhile, Israeli military reinforcements arrived at the site to secure the withdrawal of the special forces. Confrontations began between Palestinian residents and Israeli forces shortly after.

108 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 dubbed Operation Iron Swords.

Israeli forces and settlers have killed 27 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank in 2024, including two United States citizens, according to documentation collected by DCIP.

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.

Israeli forces have withheld the bodies of at least 32 Palestinian children since June 2016, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Four of the children’s bodies have since been released to their families, while 28 Palestinian children’s bodies remain withheld by Israeli authorities.

Israeli authorities’ practice of confiscating and withholding Palestinian bodies is a violation of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, which include absolute prohibitions on cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, as well as stipulate that parties of an armed conflict must bury the deceased in an honorable way. For families, the practice amounts to collective punishment in violation of international humanitarian law.

In September 2019, the Israeli Supreme Court approved the practice of confiscating human remains after several legal challenges to the policy. On November 27, 2019, Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett ordered all bodies of Palestinians alleged to have attacked Israeli citizens or soldiers to be withheld and not returned to their families. Israel is the only country in the world with such a policy of confiscating human remains, according to Adalah.

News | Fatalities and Injuries
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