Palestinian toddler dies after being shot by troops

Governor Laila Ghannam carries the body of Muhammad Tamimi who died after being shot in the head by Israeli troops last week, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, 5 June.

Ahmad Arouri APA images

A Palestinian toddler died from his injuries on Monday, four days after he was shot by Israeli troops in Nabi Saleh, a village near Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank.

Defense for Children International-Palestine said that Muhammad Haitham Ibrahim Tamimi, 2, was in the back of his father’s car outside their home on Thursday evening “when Israeli forces opened fire indiscriminately.”

The rights group added that the boy was struck in the head and his father was hit in the shoulder. Muhammad was airlifted to a hospital near Tel Aviv, where he later died.

The Israeli military claims that Palestinian gunmen had opened fire on a nearby settlement from Nabi Saleh and that troops stationed at an army post returned fire.

The Times of Israel claimed in a headline that Muhammad was “mistakenly shot.”

But even if the soldier did not intend to injure the child, the use of indiscriminate fire in a Palestinian community demonstrates a reckless disregard for Palestinian lives.

“Firing live ammunition indiscriminately in a residential neighborhood where there is no threat to an Israeli soldier’s life is a clear violation of the Israeli military’s own policies,” stated Ayed Abu Eqtaish, a program director for Defense for Children International-Palestine.

“Unlawful killings of Palestinian children have become the norm as Israeli forces become increasingly empowered to use intentional lethal force in situations that are not justified,” Abu Eqtaish added.

“This is a war crime with no consequence.”

The official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported on Monday that Hassan al-Tamimi, the slain child’s uncle, said that the family intends to take Muhammad’s case to the International Criminal Court.

Several people in the village have been killed in recent years – including two in separate incidents in 2022. Others have been seriously injured and imprisoned by Israeli forces, as residents resist against the occupation and settlements, particularly Halamish, which is built on Nabi Saleh land.

Israeli forces have killed at least two dozen Palestinian children since the beginning of the year, 20 of them in the West Bank.

Six Palestinian children were killed during Israel’s military offensive in Gaza during May; initial reports indicate that two of those boys and girls may have died as a result of a rocket that fell short of its target in Israel.

Additionally, a 10-year-old boy died as a result of head wounds sustained during an Israeli strike on Gaza in August 2022.

Twenty-four Israelis and people of other nationalities were killed by Palestinians in the context of the occupation since the beginning of the year, or died from injuries sustained previously. Four of them were children.

Additionally, three Israeli soldiers were shot and killed by an Egyptian officer along the border between the two countries on Saturday. The Egyptian officer was killed in a shootout that ensued after he was discovered by troops combing the area.

Meanwhile, Israeli settlers attacked Burqa, a town in the northern West Bank, on Sunday, throwing stones at residents and their homes.

Late last month, settlers began leveling land in Homesh, a settlement outpost built on land belonging to Palestinians in Burqa.

Settlers invaded Burqa and set fire to several structures in the village after a European-led delegation of diplomats visited the community.

The UN monitoring group OCHA has recorded some 300 settler attacks in the West Bank resulting in property damage this year, and more than 100 resulting in injury or death.


Maureen Clare Murphy

Maureen Clare Murphy's picture

Maureen Clare Murphy is senior editor of The Electronic Intifada.