Ramallah, January 18, 2024—Israeli forces killed three Palestinian children in a drone strike in the northern occupied West Bank yesterday.
Ahmad Tareq No’man Faraj, Walid Ibrahim Mohammad Ghanem, and Ahmad Mousa Mutlaq Beddo, all 17 years old, were killed around 10 a.m. on January 17 by an Israeli drone strike during an Israeli military incursion into Tulkarem refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. A drone-fired missile struck the three boys and a young Palestinian man, and Israeli forces prevented ambulances from reaching them for about an hour and a half. Eventually, they were all transferred to Thabet Thabet Governmental Hospital in Tulkarem where doctors pronounced them dead on arrival.
“Israeli forces have already killed 11 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank and hundreds of children in the Gaza Strip this year,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “Israeli forces’ nonstop brutality is facilitated by Western countries, especially the United States, which continue offering the Israeli government unconditional support and sending weapons to the Israeli military which are used to kill Palestinian children without consequence.”
Israeli forces accompanied by military bulldozers entered Tulkarem refugee camp around 4 a.m. on January 17. Palestinans confronted Israeli forces, and Israeli soldiers detained hundreds of Palestinians and destroyed streets and other civilian infrastructure, according to information collected by DCIP. The military incursion is still ongoing at time of writing.
The children and the young man killed in the drone strike were unarmed and not participating in confrontations, according to documentation collected by DCIP. All four of them sustained serious shrapnel wounds and severe burns on the upper parts of their bodies.
The Israeli military is conducting a simultaneous incursion into nearby Nour Shams refugee camp, and the death toll from the ongoing operations so far is seven Palestinians, including three children.
Israeli forces have killed 11 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank in 2024, according to documentation collected by DCIP.
92 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.
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.