Ramallah, September 21, 2018— Israeli forces killed two Palestinian children in the southern Gaza Strip between September 17 and 19, 2018.
Moemen Abu Ayada, 15, was shot dead on September 19 by Israeli forces stationed across the perimeter fence during “March of Return” protests in eastern Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. An Israeli airstrike targeted Naji Jamil Hassan Abu Assi, 16, on September 17, 2018, when he was approaching the perimeter fence east of Khan Younis, also in the southern Gaza Strip.
“This year has seen a grave escalation in the rate that Israeli forces are employing lethal force against Palestinian children,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program director at Defense for Children International - Palestine. “This includes a growing body of cases which appear to be unlawful killings, within a longstanding pattern of impunity for Israeli forces who carry out these acts.”
Moemen was participating in protests near the perimeter fence around 11:30 p.m. on September 19. He was approximately 10 meters (33 feet) away from the fence and was lying on the ground, when Israeli forces shot him in the head with live ammunition, according to initial reports gathered by DCIP. The bullet entered the left side of his head and passed through his brain, likely causing his death instantly. He was transported to Abu Yousef Al-Najjar hospital, where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.
Naji and his adult cousin from the al-Zana neighborhood were approaching the perimeter fence near midnight when they were targeted by an Israeli military aircraft-launched missile, according to initial reports. The two died on the spot. Paramedics combed the area in the period following the incident and discovered their bodies at a distance of approximately 20 - 30 meters (67 - 98 feet) from the perimeter fence, as reported by the Palestinian Red Crescent Society. Their bodies were transported to Nasser hospital in Khan Younis.
Based on initial reports collected by DCIP, Naji did not appear to be involved in any type of attack, as reported by Israeli forces. No weapons were found in the vicinity of either of the bodies, DCIP sources said.
Under international law, lethal force may not be used unless an individual poses a direct, lethal threat or threat of serious injury.
Including these two children, Israeli forces or settlers have killed at least 42 Palestinian children so far this year. The vast majority of these fatalities, 36, were children from the Gaza Strip.