US-supplied Israeli Apache helicopter kills children in West Bank

Palestinians check the damage inside a building in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, following an Israeli airstrike on 22 October. 

Mohammed Nasser APA images

The Israeli army used warplanes to conduct an airstrike in the occupied West Bank on Sunday for the first time since the second intifada.

Israeli warplanes struck al-Ansar mosque in the Jenin refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank in the early hours on Sunday, killing two Palestinians.

Muhammad Hussein Abu Abed, 30, and Muhammad Marwan Abdallah, 27, were killed in the Israeli airstrike.

The Israeli military recently conducted aerial attacks in the occupied West Bank. But this was the first Israeli attack by a warplane in the area since the early 2000s.

The Israeli army claimed that the mosque was used as an operating center for planning attacks against Israelis as it boasted that members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Palestinian resistance groups based in Gaza, were operating out of the mosque.

The Israeli airstrike completely destroyed the ground floor of the mosque, Wafa news agency reported, and caused damage to nearby homes. A Palestinian paramedic later talked about finding body parts among the debris of the mosque’s bombing.

This bring to over 90 Palestinians killed by Israeli soldier and settler violence in the occupied West Bank since 7 October, UN monitoring group OCHA reported.

Twenty eight Palestinian children have been killed in the occupied West Bank during that period, Defense for Children International - Palestine said.

Israeli forces have injured more than 1,600 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank during that period, including nearly 160 children. The vast majority of Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces during demonstrations in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.

More than a quarter of all injuries are due to live ammunition. Jewish Israeli settlers have injured almost 40 Palestinians.

Settlers have carried out more than 110 attacks against Palestinians since 7 October, according OCHA. These figures include injuries against Palestinians as well as property damage.

American-supplied Apaches kill children

Israel used US-made Apache helicopters to fire a missile at a group of Palestinian civilians, mostly children, during a deadly invasion of Nur Shams refugee camp in Tulkarm in the northern occupied West Bank on 19 October.

The missile attack killed 10 Palestinians, including four children. The deadly raid on the camp massacred at least 13 Palestinians overall, and injured dozens of others.

Palestinians reportedly hurled an improvised explosive device at the invading Israeli forces, fatally wounding a Border Police officer and injuring at least nine others.

The children killed in the missile attack were named as Yousef Muhammad Zaghdad, 11, Mujahed Muhammad Saaydeh, 15, Odai Mamun Abu al-Heija, 15, and Sari Odai al-Sadam, also 15.

Three of the boys were transferred to hospital in a private car, but the Israeli military prevented ambulances from reaching the injured, according to a field investigation by DCIP.

Mujahed, along with other Palestinians who were killed and injured in the bombing, had to shelter at a mosque until the Israeli army withdrew from the refugee camp.

Elsewhere, a 14-year-old boy was shot and killed on his walk to school on Sunday near Jenin, in the northern West Bank.

Obaida Ahmad Kmail was on his way to school when Israeli forces invaded Qabatiya on Sunday morning. Israeli forces surrounded a residential building, and were met by Palestinian gunfire.

Obaida decided to turn home after he heard the shooting, DCIP reported. When Israeli forces began to arrive, Obaida hid behind a parked vehicle. Israeli forces in military vehicles approached him and shot at him with live fire from a close distance of 15 meters (50 feet), striking him in his chest and abdomen.

Obaida ran away, injured, but Israeli forces continued to fire at him. He eventually fell and Israeli forces parked next to him, preventing ambulances from reaching him. Only 40 minutes later did ambulances reach him and transfer him to hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.

Children killed with impunity

Israeli occupation forces also killed a 14-year-old boy in Tulkarm on 19 October, the same day as the invasion of Nur Shams refugee camp.

Ali Abdallah Khazna and a friend had approached two Israeli military vehicles that were heading to the refugee camp. A group of youths were throwing stones when an Israeli soldier fired at Ali from a distance of 10 meters (33 feet). Doctors later confirmed that the boy had been shot twice in the chest.

Israeli occupation forces also shot “indiscriminately” at a group of young Palestinians in the occupied West Bank village of Beitunia near Ramallah on 20 October, killing a teenage boy, DCIP said.

Suhaib Iyad al-Sous, 15, was shot in the chest from a distance of 100 meters (328 feet).

On the same day in the Nablus area, Israeli forces killed another Palestinian boy near the Huwara checkpoint in the northern West Bank.

Odai Fawaz Mansur, 17, was participating in a demonstration of solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza near the checkpoint. Israeli occupation soldiers opened live fire at protesters confronting them at the checkpoint, and fired tear gas canisters.

One Israeli soldier shot Odai in the abdomen from a distance of 150 meters (492 feet), according to DCIP.

“Israeli forces are increasingly and brazenly killing Palestinian children throughout the West Bank,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, DCIP’s accountability program director.

“At this moment, there is absolutely no check on Israeli aggression as the international community enables war crimes through the provision of weapons and financial and diplomatic support to ensure Israeli forces and officers enjoy impunity regardless of the gravity of crimes.”


Tamara Nassar

Tamara Nassar is an assistant editor at The Electronic Intifada.