June 10, 2023

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Israeli fire kills Palestinian teenager in West Bank conflict

Israeli fire kills Palestinian teenager in West Bank conflict

Israeli fire killed a 15-year-old Palestinian in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday when clashes erupted after Israeli forces searching for a suspect stormed a refugee camp near Nablus.

The Palestinian health ministry said Imad Khaled Saleh Hashash died after sustaining a gunshot wound to the head in the Balata refugee camp.

The Israeli army said it had conducted an overnight operation in the camp to apprehend “a suspect”.

“During the mission, live ammunition was fired at troops from rooftops. The troops responded with fire towards the sources of the shooting,” it said in a statement.

According to the army, rioting then broke out, with residents hurling blocks and other objects from rooftops at Israeli soldiers.

“During the riot, a number of soldiers spotted a suspect on a rooftop holding a large object in his hands, attempting to throw it at an (Israeli) soldier standing underneath the building.

“One of the soldiers responded with live fire and a hit was identified,” the statement added, without commenting directly on the teenager’s death.

A crowd gathered later Tuesday in Balata for Hashash’s funeral, waving Palestinian flags.

Armed and hooded men from factions including Fatah and Islamic Jihad fired shots into the air, an AFP journalist said.

“A 15-year-old boy, what did he do?” said Khaled Ahmed, a cousin of the victim.

“An innocent boy sleeping at home, he heard a shooting in the camp so he went out like everyone else to see what was happening and was shot in the head,” Ahmed told AFP.

Deadly unrest is common in the West Bank, a Palestinian territory Israel has occupied since 1967.

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Earlier this month, four Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli security forces in the restive Jenin refugee camp.

Following the deaths, Palestinian presidency spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina warned of the risk of an “explosion of the situation” in the occupied territory.

Some 2.8 million Palestinians live in the West Bank, as do 475,000 Israelis in settlements that are deemed illegal under international law.