Ramallah, August 4, 2023—Israeli forces shot and killed a 17-year-old Palestinian boy in the northern occupied West Bank early this morning.
Mahmoud Husam Hasan Ahmad Abu Sa’an, 17, was shot with live ammunition around 3:45 a.m. on August 4 by an Israeli soldier inside a heavily-armored Israeli military vehicle from about 50 meters (164 feet) during confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli forces withdrawing from Tulkarem refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. After Mahmoud was shot, he fell to the ground screaming. Israeli forces inside the same Israeli military vehicle approached and opened fire again, shooting him in the head from a distance of three meters (10 feet). Mahmoud was transferred in a private vehicle to Thabet Thabet Governmental Hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead shortly after arrival.
“Israeli forces routinely use lethal force in situations not justified by international law,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “Mahmoud was lying on the ground, screaming, after Israeli forces shot him. To shoot him again in the head at point-blank range when he was incapacitated amounts to an extrajudicial killing and a flagrant display of the impunity enjoyed by Israeli forces.”
Mahmoud sustained three bullet wounds, according to medical information collected by DCIP. One bullet struck the left side of his skull, exposing brain matter, a second bullet struck his left jaw, and a third bullet struck his right hand.
Mahmoud allegedly threw a Molotov cocktail toward a group of Israeli military vehicles and fled before Israeli forces shot him the first time.
38 Palestinian children have been killed in 2023, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces have shot and killed at least 30 Palestinian children and killed one Palestinian child with a targeted drone strike in the occupied West Bank. Six Palestinian children in Gaza were killed in the May 2023 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip, and a 10-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.