Israeli soldier costs West Bank boy his leg

Jun 20, 2019 News | Fatalities and Injuries
Mahmoud Salah recovers from a leg amputation surgery after being shot by an Israeli soldier. (Photo:Courtesy of the Salah family.)

Ramallah, June 20, 2019—A Palestinian boy underwent a leg amputation after an Israeli soldier shot him on May 21, 2019, near the separation barrier in the Bethlehem governorate, in the southern West Bank.

An Israeli soldier shot 14-year-old Mahmoud Salah from Al-Khader village in the leg while he was retrieving a soccer ball, according to the boy’s sworn affidavit. An ambulance reached Mahmoud approximately 45 minutes after the initial injury, transporting him to Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem where the child’s leg was amputated.

“There were bumps along the way, and I asked them to slow down because I was hurting, but they did not listen,” Mahmoud said, describing the ambulance trip. “A female soldier shouted at me loudly and told me to shut up. I was already in a lot of pain, and it increased because they were driving really fast. And then I did not know what happened.”

Mahmoud told Defense for Children International - Palestine that he had been playing soccer with some friends after dark, around 9:30 p.m., near the separation barrier.

He went to retrieve the ball when it rolled close to the barrier and was struck by a live bullet in the leg, causing heavy bleeding. A few minutes later, Mahmoud said that two soldiers approached and kicked him.

Mahmoud said soldiers placed him on a stretcher and then on the ground near some military vehicles. In the estimated 45 minutes before an ambulance arrived, soldiers searched and questioned him. Mahmoud lost consciousness in the ambulance.

When he regained consciousness the next day, Mahmoud was guarded by soldiers and learned that he had undergone two surgeries. Medical staff informed him that his left leg had been amputated below the knee due to irreversible tendon damage.

Earlier this year, Israeli forces severely injured and detained another Palestinian teenager, 14-year-old Mohammad Qawasmeh, in East Jerusalem.

On January 24, 2019, an undercover Israeli agent shot the boy in the back around 5:00 p.m. while he was walking in a crowded area of Shuafat refugee camp, on his way to buy groceries. Israeli forces transported Mohammad to Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem.

“As a result of my injury, I underwent surgery, during which doctors removed my spleen and stitched up my stomach, kidney and diaphragm. I stayed in the intensive care unit for four days,” Mohammad stated.

During his hospital stay, Mohammad was guarded by Israeli border police and one of his arms was handcuffed to the bed. On January 28, Mohammad was interrogated and accused of taking part in clashes and throwing molotov cocktails. Mohammad denied the accusations and refused to sign a statement in Hebrew that the interrogator had ordered him to sign. He was released from detention on January 31, but remained in the hospital until February 3 for further treatment.

Since 2014, DCIP documentation and analysis show that Israeli forces have increasingly targeted Palestinian children with intentional lethal force, often in the context of protests. Under international law, lethal force such as live ammunition, may only be used as a last resort and when a direct threat to life or of serious injury exists.

Between January and May 2019, DCIP documented 55 cases of Palestinian children injured by live ammunition at the hands of Israeli forces.

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