Ramallah, November 18, 2023—Israeli combat aircraft killed a Palestinian boy overnight in a bomb attack in the northern occupied West Bank.
Mohammad Musa Mohammad Masimi, 14, was killed when an Israeli warplane bombed a building located in the center of the densely-populated Balata refugee camp, located near the Palestinian city of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, around 12 a.m. today, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Mohammad had been seen entering the building shortly before it was targeted. The bodies and limbs of several people were dug from the rubble and transported to Rafidia Governmental Hospital in Nablus, where Mohammad’s family eventually was able to identify his remains. Four other Palestinians were killed in the attack.
“Israeli forces recently escalated tactics in the occupied West Bank by using weaponized aerial drones and attack helicopters to carry out attacks against Palestinians,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “The international community has persistently failed to hold Israel accountable for the unlawful killing of protesters or the use of weaponized drones, providing tacit approval for Israel to turn its U.S.-sourced warplanes against Palestinians in the West Bank with impunity.”
Many Palestinians gathered on Market street at the site of the explosions and found the two-story building used by the Fatah political party was completely destroyed with smoke billowing from it. Several nearby homes were also completely destroyed. The Fatah building was used by residents of Balata refugee camp for meetings, events, and other gatherings. The President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, is the chairman of Fatah.
Israeli forces have escalated military operations throughout the occupied West Bank in recent weeks, carrying out increasing numbers of search and arrest operations and aerial attacks. This is the first airstrike in Nablus by an Israeli warplane since 2005, during the Second Intifada.
54 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 94 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces and settlers shot and killed 80 Palestinian children with live ammunition, nine 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.
At least 191 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.