Ramallah, February 11, 2024—Israeli forces shot and killed a 17-year-old Palestinian-American boy yesterday northwest of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank.
Mohammad Ahmed Mohammad Khdour, 17, was shot in the head by Israeli forces around 4:30 p.m. on February 10 west of the Palestinian town of Biddu, northwest of Jerusalem in the central occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Israeli forces opened fire on the car that Mohammad, a United States citizen, was sitting in with one of his relatives while they were in a natural wooded area near the town of Qattana. Mohammad sustained gunshot wounds to the head, and their vehicle overturned while attempting to get to safety. Mohammad was transported by ambulance to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah where medical staff attempted to resuscitate him, however, he was pronounced dead at around 11 p.m.
“Decades of systemic impunity has created a situation where Israeli forces shoot to kill without limit,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “As Palestinian children are increasingly targets in the West Bank, Israeli forces’ rules of engagement seemingly allow direct targeting of Palestinian children where no threat exists to justify the use of intentional lethal force.”
Mohammad was a senior in high school and a United States citizen. The wooded area is considered to be a park and is where people from neighboring villages regularly visit to pick mushrooms, sage, and other plants.
98 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 17 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank in 2024, including two United States citizens, according to documentation collected by DCIP.
In January, 17-year-old Palestinian-American Tawfiq Hafez Tawfiq Ajaq was shot and killed in the occupied West Bank as an Israeli settler and Israeli soldiers opened fire on him, 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.