Ramallah, February 14, 2023—Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian child in the northern occupied West Bank today.
Mahmoud Majed Mohammad Ayed, 17, was shot in the head by an Israeli sniper around 5:30 a.m. on February 14 in the Al-Aboushi neighborhood of Al-Far’a refugee camp, northeast of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Israeli forces entered Al-Far’a refugee camp around 5 a.m. to conduct arrest operations, then Palestinian residents confronted Israeli forces. During a confrontation between unarmed Palestinians and Israeli forces, an Israeli sniper stationed on top of a building about 100 meters (328 feet) away shot Mahmoud in the left side of his head with a live bullet. A private car transferred Mahmoud to an ambulance which brought him to Tubas Turkish Hospital, and because of the severity of his injuries, he was transferred to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus. Doctors declared Mahmoud dead around 10:30 a.m.
“Israeli forces routinely resort to intentional lethal force in situations not justified under international law and make no effort to impartially investigate or ensure that Israeli soldiers act in accordance with international standards,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “Israeli forces’ near-daily incursions into Palestinian communities too often result in an Israeli soldier’s bullet in a Palestinian child’s body.”
The bullet that struck Mahmoud’s head exited through his left eye, according to information collected by DCIP.
Mahmoud is the 11th Palestinian child killed by Israeli forces in 2023, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces have shot and killed 10 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, and a ten-year-old Palestinian child in Gaza succumbed to head wounds he sustained during the Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip in August 2022.
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.
53 Palestinian children were killed in 2022, according to documentation collected by DCIP, including 36 Palestinian children shot and killed by Israeli forces or settlers in the occupied West Bank. DCIP documented the killing of 17 Palestinian children between August 5–7 after Israeli forces launched a military offensive in the Gaza Strip.