2 Palestinian teens shot dead amid clashes over toddler killed in arson attack

Two 17-yo Palestinian boys were shot dead by Israeli forces in separate incidents amid clashes in the West Bank incited by the death of an 18-month-old child in a suspected Jewish arson attack on a Palestinian village.

Laith Fadel al-Khaladi, 17, was reportedly shot in the chest by an Israeli sniper near Bir Zeit, north of Ramallah in the central West Bank. The teen later died from his injuries at a hospital, the Palestinian Ma'an News Agency quoted medical sources as saying. 

Al-Khaladi is said to have been shot during anti-Israeli protests in the area, sparked by the deadly “price tag” attack in Kafr Duma.

Six other Palestinians were injured in clashes erupting during arson-related protests in the West Bank and Jerusalem on Friday, Haaretz reported.

One Palestinian was shot in the leg during protests in the West Bank city of Hebron; four others were wounded after police resorted to tear gas and rubber bullets against about 30 stone-throwers in the city of Halhul. One more Palestinian was injured with a rubber bullet in Kfar Kadum.

Another 17yo shot dead on Gaza border

Earlier in the day, another Palestinian teen, 17-year-old Mohammed Hamed al-Masri, was fired upon by Israeli forces in north Gaza. He sustained gunshot wounds to the upper body and later died at a hospital.

Masri had approached the border fence west of the Beit Lahia area along with other Palestinian youths to join the protests of the deadly arson attack, Haaretz cited Palestinian sources as saying. One other person was wounded in the shooting, receiving non-life threatening injuries, a Palestinian medical official told AFP, a French news service.

According to an Israeli army spokeswoman: “Two suspects approached the security fence of the northern Gaza Strip.” One of the figures ignored an order to halt, prompting warning shots to be fired, she told AFP, adding “the force fired toward the lower extremities of a suspect.”

Jerusalem witnessed firebombs and stone throwing with one Israeli officer wounded. Gunshots were reported not far from Kochav Hashahar, north of Jerusalem, but with no resulting injuries.

Meanwhile, Israeli settlers were targeted by Palestinians in the southern Hebron Hills community of Beit Hagai, the Jerusalem Post reports. Dozens were evacuated because of a brush fire allegedly started by Palestinians.  Thirty people received medical treatment for smoke inhalation.

“Every Israeli is now a legitimate target,” Hamas said earlier on Friday calling for “day of rage” in response to the Palestinian toddler’s killing.

The Friday attack also caused international condemnation with UN chief Ban Ki-moon saying that the absence of a peace process and Israel’s illegal settlement policy had sparked violent extremism by Jews and Palestinians. The US condemned the deadly arson in the strongest possible terms calling it “vicious.” The EU also expressed its condemnation saying that “it is a tragic reminder of the dramatic situation in the region that highlights the urgent need of the political solution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”

READ MORE: Palestinian toddler burned to death in suspected Jewish ‘price tag’ attack

Suspected Jewish extremists threw a Molotov cocktail through the window of a Palestinian home in the village of Kafr Duma near the West Bank city of Nablus in the early hours of Friday. Eighteen-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha was killed, and his brother and parents were seriously injured in the resulting blaze.

Hundreds of people gathered for the child’s funeral on Friday.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said that the perpetrators of the attack would be brought to justice.

“I am in shock from this criminal and terrible act,” Aruts Sheva quoted Netanyahu as saying Friday morning. “We are talking about terrorism in every respect.”

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas blamed the Israeli government for the incident because of its support of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. He also said that the Palestinian leadership was going to refer the matter to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and urged the international community to act.

“We are immediately preparing the file that will be submitted to the ICC,” Abbas told reporters, denouncing what he called “war crimes and crimes against humanity committed each day by Israelis against the Palestinian people.”