Four Palestinian children killed by Israel this year

Four Palestinian children killed by Israel this year
Israeli soldiers shot and killed two Palestinian children on Friday, bringing the number of Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces this year to four.
3 min read
04 August, 2015
Palestinian child playing in Jerusalem Old City [Andrew Burke / Getty]
Defense for Children International - Palestine (DCIP), the Palestinian branch of an international children's rights group, announced on Monday that the number of Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces this year in the West Bank and Gaza has reached four.

This comes after the killing of 15-year-old Laith al-Khalidi and 16-year-old Mohammad al-Masri.

Al-Khalidi died on 31 July after sustaining gunshot wounds during clashes with Israeli forces at the Atara military checkpoint near the West Bank town of Birzeit following protests against the burning to death of a Palestinian toddler in an arson attack by Jewish settlers.

"A witness at the Atara checkpoint told DCIP that around 5:30 p.m., he saw a group of about 15 Palestinian youths running away from the Israeli military watchtower."

"One of them, Laith Fadil al-Khalidi, 15, fell to the ground approximately 100 metres (328 feet) from the watchtower. Another youth helped the wounded teen to a private car nearby, according to the witness. Laith died overnight at the Palestine Medical Complex in the West Bank city of Ramallah," said a statement by the group.

Palestinian Justice Minister Saleem al-Saqqa said an autopsy showed the teenager had sustained a gunshot wound that entered the middle of his back and exited the top right side of his stomach, which caused his death.

On the same day, Israeli soldiers near the border fence with Gaza shot Mohammad al-Masri, 16, around 6:20 p.m.

A friend of the teenager told the DCIP that they had gone to the area to picnic however Mohammad started smashing a surveillance camera on the fence, then the two boys fled when they saw Israeli military vehicles approaching.

Shortly after, Mohammad returned to the same area with another group of young Palestinians and soldiers stationed nearby fired at them. The bullets hit Mohammad's shoulder and left waist, and he lay bleeding for 20 minutes before his friend could reach him.

Mohammad was declared dead shortly after arriving at the Kamal Odwan hospital in Beit Lahia.

On 3 July, a senior military officer repeatedly shot Mohammad al-Kasba, 17, from a distance of about 15 meters near Qalandia checkpoint, the main entryway between Ramallah and Jerusalem, killing him on the spot.

In April, Israeli forces at the East Jerusalem Zayyem checkpoint killed 17-year-old Ali Abu Ghannam. "Impunity for soldiers and settlers perpetuates injustice and provides a licence to kill Palestinian children with complete disregard for human life," said Khaled Quzmar, general director of Defence for Children International-Palestine.

"When Israeli officials routinely fail to hold perpetrators accountable for violence against Palestinian children, they share direct responsibility for the deaths," he added.

The DCIP has documented three other cases of children shot by Israeli forces near the border fence with Gaza this year.

On 17 July, Mansur Abu Tima, 13, sustained a gunshot wound to his left leg while walking by the fence near the southern Gaza town of Khuzaa.

In June, Israeli soldiers wounded Ibrahim Abu Raida and his cousin Islam Abu Raida, both 16, in their lower limbs as they stood 150 meters from the fence near the southern city of Khan Younis.

The third incident took place in April when Fadi Misbah, 16, sustained two gunshot wounds in his upper and lower limbs. He was participating in a demonstration near Khan Younis and about 200 meters from the Israel-Gaza border.

A March 2015 report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that five Palestinians were killed, including a child, and 131 were injured by Israeli forces near the Gaza Strip border with Israel in 2014.