Israeli forces ‘mistakenly’ kill 15yo bystander in stone-throwing incident

Israeli soldiers have “mistakenly” killed a 15-year-old Palestinian teen and wounded four other youths in the West Bank, as the IDF tried to quell rioters who were pelting stones at Israeli vehicles on a busy road.

The teen, identified by the Palestinian Ministry of Health as Mahmoud Badran, was fatally shot when the vehicle he was traveling in was fired upon by an Israeli military patrol, head of the village council of Beit Ur al-Tahta Abdul Karim Kassem told Reuters. The incident happened when the group of friends was “returning from a pool in a village near us when they came under fire.”

“It is the summer and it’s Ramadan, people leave the village to go to the pool in Beit Sira, they were coming back between 1:15am and 1:30am and suddenly Israeli forces started shooting at their car. No one asked them to stop or asked them for ID,” Ahmed Shami, a cousin of the killed teen, was quoted by Washington Post as saying. Shami added that the family is now waiting for the Israel to return Mahmoud’s body.

The Israeli Army said that the incident took place as Palestinian youths threw Molotov cocktails and hurled stones at Israeli vehicles on Route 443 that connects to Jerusalem. It is reported that more than 10 vehicles suffered damage in the attack.

“Nearby forces acted to protect further civilians from being injured and pursued the suspects. From the initial inquiry, it appears that uninvolved bystanders were mistakenly hit during this pursuit,” the IDF said in a statement, adding that investigation into the death of the teen has been launched.

In a statement made to Ma’an news, the IDF said that two Palestinian suspects were detained and are now being questioned.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said that Palestinian teens sustained “serious” injuries in the head and chest before three of them were transferred to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah, Ma'an reports. The fourth victim was taken to a hospital in Jerusalem. The four were identified as Mahmoud’s two brothers 16-year-old Amir and 17-year-old Hadi, as well as Daoud Abu Hassan, 16, and Majd Badran, 16.

The Israeli Army spokesperson added that three Israeli civilians were slightly injured in the incident. Israeli media also reported that two foreigners might also have suffered slight injuries.

The Palestine Liberation Organization condemned the death of the teen, calling the incident a “brutal attack.”

“This cold-blooded assassination reaffirms our calls to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions, to initiate an immediate extensive investigation into Israel's extrajudicial killings of Palestinians; particularly children,” the PLO said in a statement.

Over the past nine months, Israeli forces have killed at least 197 Palestinians, 134 of whom were deemed as terrorists. Others were killed in clashes and protests, which resulted in the deaths of 32 Israelis and two visiting US citizens.