Palestinian child shot by Israel dies in detention

A Palestinian boy who was shot and detained by Israeli occupation forces in the central West Bank on Wednesday died of his injuries.

The family of Muhammad Matar was informed on Thursday that the 16-year-old had been killed. Israel has not transferred the teen’s body to his family, Defense for Children International Palestine stated on Friday.

An Israeli military spokesperson claimed that troops “spotted a terrorist cell” preparing Molotov cocktails and laying tires on the road with the intention of setting them on fire.

Two other boys – aged 14 and 15 – were wounded by live ammunition during the same incident, according to Defense for Children International Palestine.

“They were not detained and both boys are in stable condition in Ramallah-area hospitals,” the group stated.

Children killed

Matar is the second Palestinian child killed over a Molotov cocktail this year.

Muhammad Suleiman al-Haddad, also 16, was shot multiple times in the chest during a protest in the city of Hebron in February. Israel claimed the teen had thrown a Molotov cocktail at soldiers.

Defense for Children International Palestine stated that al-Haddad “appeared to be holding a Molotov cocktail at the time he was shot, according to a video” seen by the group.

“However, he was far enough away from Israeli forces, including the soldier that fired at him, that he likely did not pose any imminent threat when he was shot.”

Israeli forces have killed four Palestinian children so far this year and a fifth child died of injuries sustained during protests along Gaza’s boundary with Israel in 2019.

Three other Palestinian teenagers are presumed dead after Israeli soldiers shot and detained them as they allegedly attempted to breach the Gaza boundary fence and threw an explosive device towards soldiers in January.

Nearly 30 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces so far this year. One Israeli soldier was killed when a rock was dropped on his head during a raid on a West Bank community in the same period.

Palestinian disability and human rights groups told the United Nations last month that “Israeli occupation forces have escalated their use of lethal and excessive force” since 2015.

More than 750 Palestinians have been killed by Israel since October 2015, the groups stated.

Gaza bombarded

Meanwhile, Israel continued to pound what it called Hamas targets in Gaza overnight Thursday.

Israel has been bombing Gaza nightly over the past week and has imposed collective punishment measures on the territory’s population of 2.1 million Palestinians, most of whom are refugees.

Israel has claimed the measures are a response to incendiary balloons released from Gaza which have damaged agricultural fields in southern Israel.

Palestinians fired rockets from Gaza, which has been under a tightened Israeli blockade since 2007, overnight Thursday. Fragments from a rocket damaged a home in the southern Israeli city of Sderot.

On Friday, Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz threatened to deal “a very severe blow” to the impoverished and besieged Gaza Strip.

Last week, human rights groups in Israel called on Gantz to “immediately reverse measures constituting illegal collective punishment that deliberately infringe upon the human rights of Gaza residents.”

Instead, Israel cut fuel supplies to Gaza, causing its power plant to shut down.


Maureen Clare Murphy

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Maureen Clare Murphy is senior editor of The Electronic Intifada.