On Tuesday night, Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian child in the Al-Khader town, south of Bethlehem, south of the occupied Palestinian capital, Jerusalem, in the West Bank.
Medical sources have confirmed that the slain child has been identified as Mohammad Rezeq Salah Shehada, 14, adding that the Israeli soldiers shot him with live rounds.
Local activist Ahmad Salah said the soldiers, including undercover officers, invaded the Bakoush area in the western part of Al-Khader, leading to protests by local Palestinians. The army fired a barrage of live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs, and concussion grenades at the protesters, killing one and wounding several others.
After shooting the child, the soldiers prevented a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance from reaching him.
A video from the scene shows the child on the ground with two soldiers near him after removing his clothes; one was standing near the child, and the other appeared to be listening if he had a heartbeat.
According to Israeli Ynet News, the Israeli army said in a statement that the soldiers spotted three Palestinians arriving in an area where they claimed that firebombs had been thrown at Israeli vehicles several times recently. The army alleged that the soldiers shot the child after throwing a Molotov cocktail.
It added that the soldiers “shot one of the suspects and provided treatment to him before he succumbed to his wounds.”
The child’s killing caused more protests in the town, and the soldiers fired many live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs, and concussion grenades.
Contrary to the army’s claim, the child was shot in the town and not near the road where the army claimed that Palestinians had hurled the Molotov cocktails. Nevertheless, their invasion into al-Khader resulted in protests.
The soldiers also shot at least one Palestinian with a rubber-coated steel bullet and caused dozens to suffer the effects of tear gas inhalation in the Nashash area in the western part of Al-Khader.
Palestinian factions and civil society institutions declared a one-day strike, including the closure of schools and stores, to mourn the slain child.
After his death, dozens of Palestinians marched in the town and chanted for ongoing resistance and steadfastness against the illegal Israeli occupation.
They also called for unity among all Palestinian factions to unite against this occupation until liberation, sovereignty, and independence are achieved for the Palestinian people.
The Palestinian Education Ministry also issued a statement mourning the child and declaring the closure of schools in the town for one day.
The Ministry said the slain child was a seventh-grade student at a government-run school in al-Khader.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh denounced the escalating Israeli violations against unarmed civilians in the occupied West Bank and described the child’s killing as a premeditated murder carried out by an occupying force with no respect for human rights life or international law.
He added that the Israeli army is engaging in a policy of cold-blooded execution of Palestinians – a policy that he says is being encouraged by Israeli political leadership and the apathy of the International Community.