Ramallah, October 20, 2023—Israeli forces killed five Palestinian children during a military incursion into Nour Shams refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank yesterday and one additional child near Ramallah today.
Israeli forces operating a U.S.-sourced Apache attack helicopter fired a missile toward a group of Palestinian civilians, mostly children, around 1:30 p.m. on October 19 in Nour Shams refugee camp, near Tulkarem in the northern occupied West Bank, killing ten Palestinians, including four children, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. The four Palestinian children killed in the attack are Yousef Mohammad Omar Zaghdad, 11, Mujahed Mohammad Yousef Sa’aydeh, 15, Udai Ma’moun Khaled Abu Al-Heija, 15, and Sari Udai Ali Al-Sada, 15. A fifth child, 14-year-old Ali Abdullah Mohammad Said Khazna, was shot and killed by Israeli forces in the Thenaba neighborhood of Tulkarem around 5 p.m. In Beitunia, a Palestinian town near Ramallah, Israeli forces shot and killed 15-year-old Suhaib Iyad Mohammad Al-Sous around 10 a.m. today.
“Israeli forces are increasingly and brazenly killing Palestinian children throughout the West Bank,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “At this moment, there is absolutely no check on Israeli aggression as the international community enables war crimes through the provision of weapons and financial and diplomatic support to ensure Israeli forces and officers enjoy impunity regardless of the gravity of crimes.”
After Israeli forces in an Apache attack helicopter fired a missile at a group of Palestinian civilians, the Israeli military prevented Palestinian ambulances from reaching the injured. Five of the injured Palestinians, including Yousef, Udai, and Sari, were transferred to a nearby hospital in private cars. The remaining Palestinians killed and injured in the attack, including Mujahed, sheltered in a mosque until the Israeli military forces withdrew from Nour Shams refugee camp.
Israeli forces shot and killed 14-year-old Ali Abdullah Mohammad Said Khazna around 5 p.m. on October 19 near the main street of the Thenaba neighborhood of Tulkarem, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Ali and his friend approached two Israeli military vehicles en route to Nour Shams refugee camp, where the Israeli military had carried out an incursion earlier in the day. A group of young Palestinians threw stones at the Israeli military vehicles, and one Israeli soldier fired two bullets at Ali from the window of one of the vehicles from about ten meters (33 feet) away. Ali was transferred to Thabet Thabet Governmental Hospital in Tulkarem, where doctors confirmed he had been shot twice in the chest and the bullets exited from his back, and pronounced him dead.
During the same Israeli military incursion into Nour Shams refugee camp, Israeli forces shot and killed 15-year-old Taha Ibrahim Mohammad Mahmeed around 3:40 a.m. on October 19, according to documentation collected by DCIP.
Israeli forces fatally shot 15-year-old Suhaib Iyad Mohammad Al-Sous around 10 a.m. on October 20 in the Palestinian town of Beitunia, west of Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces carried out an incursion into Beitunia beginning around 3 a.m., and as Israeli forces withdrew from Beitunia around 10 a.m., they opened fire indiscriminately toward a group of Palestinian youth. Suhaib sustained a gunshot wound to the chest from a distance of about 100 meters (328 feet) and an ambulance transported him to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah, where he was declared dead around 6:40 p.m.
Throughout the occupied West Bank, Palestinians have organized marches and demonstrations over the past week in solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip bearing the brunt of Israeli land, sea, and air attacks after Palestinian armed groups fired rockets toward Israel and breached the Israeli perimeter fence surrounding Gaza early on October 7, launching attacks inside Israel. Israeli forces initiated a large-scale military operation dubbed Operation Iron Swords.
26 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 bombardment on the Gaza Strip dubbed Operation Iron Swords.
So far this year, Israeli forces and settlers have killed at least 66 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces and settlers shot and killed 61 Palestinian children with live ammunition, one Palestinian child was killed in a drone strike, and four Palestinian children were killed by missiles fired from a U.S.-sourced Apache attack helicopter.
At least 79 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers in the occupied West Bank since October 7, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
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.