Ramallah, October 22, 2023—Israeli forces shot and killed a 14-year-old Palestinian boy in the northern occupied West Bank today.
Obaida Ahmad Ali Kmail, 14, was shot by Israeli forces around 7:30 a.m. this morning while walking in the street toward his home in the Palestinian city of Qabatiya, located south of Jenin in the occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Obaida unexpectedly encountered Israeli special forces after turning back from his walk to school due to the sound of gunfire. Obaida took cover behind a vehicle parked on the side of the street, then Israeli forces in military vehicles approached him and opened fire with live ammunition from a distance of 15 meters (50 feet). He sustained gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen, and fled running toward the center of the city as Israeli forces continued to fire at him. He fell to the ground, lying on his stomach, and Israeli forces in a military vehicle parked next to him and prevented an ambulance from reaching him. After 40 minutes, the ambulance was able to reach him and he was transferred to Jenin Governmental Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.
“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.”
Obaida was on his way to school when the Israeli military incursion into Qabatiya began around 7:30 a.m. on October 22. Israeli special forces surrounded a residential building opposite Salah al-Din Mosque along the main street in the city, according to information collected by DCIP. Once the Israeli special forces were discovered, armed Palestinians opened fire on them. Obaida heard the sound of gunfire and decided to return home. Then, Israeli military reinforcements began to arrive at the location where Obaida was walking in the street.
Israeli forces have escalated military operations throughout the occupied West Bank in recent weeks, carrying out increasing numbers of search and arrest operations.
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.
28 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 68 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces and settlers shot and killed 63 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 84 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.