Ramallah, December 18, 2023—Israeli forces shot and killed two Palestinian boys this morning during a military incursion into a Palestinian refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank.
Rashed Habib Ahmad Aydi, 17, was shot in the chest by an Israeli sniper deployed on the rooftop in the northern area of Al-Far’a refugee camp around 8:40 a.m. on December 18, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. When he was targeted, Rashed was standing at and looking out a window in his family home located in the center of the camp, opposite from where the Israeli sniper was positioned about 200 meters (656 feet) away. Rashed was shot shortly before Israeli military reinforcements arrived. Rashed’s father carried him to the front entrance of their house, but before he was able to call an ambulance, Rashed died. His body was transported by ambulance to the Turkish Tubas Governmental Hospital where he was dead on arrival.
Yazan Mo'in Mohammad Khatib, 16, was shot in the head by Israeli forces around 9:30 a.m. in the Zidan neighborhood located in the center of Al-Far’a refugee camp on December 18, according to information collected by DCIP. Yazan was standing in an alleyway in front of his house with several other Palestinian youth when an Israeli military jeep stopped at the entrance to the alleyway. Yazan was shot in the head with live ammunition fired from a remote-controlled weapon mounted to the roof of the Israeli military vehicle. Yazan was reportedly holding a homemade explosive device when he was shot. Yazan was carried to an ambulance that was parked nearby and transported to the Turkish Tubas Governmental Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
“Israeli forces are shouting to the world through their actions that Palestinian children are undoubtedly targets,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “The international communities’ complete failure to act in any meaningful way to protect Palestinian children does nothing more than empower Israeli forces to increasingly target Palestinian children across the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”
Israeli special forces traveling in two commercial vehicles with Palestinian license plates entered Al-Far’a refugee camp around 8:30 a.m. on December 18, according to eyewitnesses. Once inside the refugee camp, Israeli snipers deployed on the rooftops of several homes as the other Israeli soldiers raided a home to conduct an arrest. After about 10 minutes, the presence of Israeli forces was known to Palestinian residents and armed confrontations ensued prompting the Israeli military to send in three waves of reinforcements stationed at Hamra military checkpoint and a military bulldozer. Confrontations intensified with the arrival of Israeli military reinforcements. Israeli forces withdrew around 11 a.m.
76 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 116 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces and settlers shot and killed 99 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.