Israeli forces kill three Palestinian boys in Jenin

Dec 14, 2023
16-year-old Rafiq Mohammad Omar Ezqaily, left, 15-year-old Mousa Ahmad Mousa Khatib, center, and 13-year-old Bashar Haitham Ahmad Abu Zeid, right, were all killed by Israeli forces in Jenin. (Photos: Courtesy of the Ezqaily, Khatib, and Abu Zeid families)

Ramallah, December 14, 2023—Israeli forces killed two Palestinian boys today and a third boy was confirmed killed on Tuesday during a three-day Israeli military incursion into Jenin.

Mousa Ahmad Mousa Khatib, 15, was shot and killed by Israeli forces around 1 p.m. on December 14 on a main road near Jenin refugee camp in the Palestinian city of Jenin, located in the northern occupied West Bank, according to information collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Mousa was standing in front of Jenin Governmental Hospital as some Palestinian residents threw stones at an Israeli military vehicle deployed near Al-Zahra Secondary School for Girls, located about 100 meters (328 feet) away from the hospital. An Israeli soldier inside the heavily armored military vehicle fired live ammunition, striking Mousa in the chest and exiting through his back. Mousa ran into the hospital’s emergency department where he collapsed to the floor. Medical staff tried to resuscitate him but he was pronounced dead after about 10 minutes.

Earlier, Bashar Haitham Ahmad Abu Zeid, 13, was killed by an Israeli drone-fired missile around 12 a.m. on December 14, near the Khalid bin Al-Walid Mosque located in the eastern area of Jenin, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Bashar and six other Palestinian youths were throwing bottles filled with motor oil toward passing Israeli military vehicles on the main street next to Bashar’s home when an Israeli weaponized drone targeted the group, killing three people including Bashar. Bashar sustained shrapnel wounds and burns all over his body and was transported by ambulance to Ibn Sina Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“Israeli forces are now routinely using weaponized aerial drones to carry out attacks against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “After years of Israeli forces increasingly unlawfully killing Palestinian children with impunity, we now see Israeli forces escalate tactics to carry out aerial attacks against children in a hypermilitarized environment where Palestinian children bear the brunt of Israeli aggression.”

DCIP confirmed that 16-year-old Rafiq Mohammad Omar Ezqaily was killed on December 12 around 7 a.m. in an Israeli drone strike in the Al-Sibat neighborhood of Jenin, which also killed 17-year-old Thaer Shadi Fawaz Tabaji and two other Palestinian men. Rafiq was allegedly holding a firearm, standing with two other armed Palestinians, when they were killed in the drone strike. Rafiq, Thaer and the two other Palestinian men were transported by ambulance to Jenin Governmental Hospital, where they were all declared dead on arrival. 

Israeli forces entered Jenin early on December 12 and left around 4 p.m. today. During the Israeli military incursion into Jenin, Israeli forces deployed across the city and Jenin refugee camp, seizing Palestinian homes to use as military bases and stationing snipers on the roofs of buildings. Israeli forces besieged several hospitals in Jenin and impeded the movement of ambulances and paramedics. 

Israeli military bulldozers destroyed civilian infrastructure in Jenin refugee camp and several neighborhoods throughout the city. Israeli forces also bombed at least one Palestinian home, completely destroying it. 

73 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.

So far this year, Israeli forces and settlers have killed at least 113 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces and settlers shot and killed 96 Palestinian children with live ammunition, 12 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.

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