A Palestinian teenager has been shot dead by Israeli forces during clashes at a checkpoint near Ramallah city, as more than a week of violence continues to grip Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.
Heavy clashes took place on Sunday in cities and villages across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, following weeks of protests sparked by tensions over the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Frustration has boiled over into violence as Israel continues to build Jewish-only settlements throughout the West Bank in defiance of international law.
Ahmad Sharaka, 13, was shot and killed on Sunday when Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinian demonstrators outside Beit El, a Jewish-only settlement near Ramallah.
Speaking to Al Jazeera, an Israeli army spokeswoman was unable to confirm the death.
“There was a violent riot in Ramallah, including hundreds of Palestinians who blocked roads with stones and proceeded to breach a security into Beit El in order to hurl rocks at the passing vehicles there.”
“Forces on the scene tried to stop the violence by using riot dispersal means, including rubber-coated bullets,” she said, declining to comment on whether live ammunition had been used against the protesters.
“The boy [Sharaka] had a wound from a live bullet in the neck when he arrived at the emergency room,” an official at Ramallah Hospital, where Sharaka was taken, told Al Jazeera.
“Unfortunately his wounds were so severe that he could not make it and he died despite all of the medical procedures.
“We received four more patients suffering from live ammunition injuries in lower extremities,” the official added.
The teenager’s killing comes amid a harsh crackdown on Palestinians by Israeli security forces and tit-for-tat stabbing attacks between Israelis and Palestinians.
A Palestinian citizen of Israel allegedly stabbed and injured four Israelis in Hadera, a coastal city in the country’s north, on Sunday.
Writing on Twitter, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that three of the victims were in moderate condition and another was seriously wounded. He added that an assailant was arrested.
Four Israelis, including two settlers, have been killed in Palestinian attacks since October 1. Another 67 Israelis have been injured as a result of more than a dozen stabbing incidents.
As unrest engulfs much of the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli forces have killed 24 Palestinians since October 3, according to the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Health.
According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, at least 332 Palestinians were injured during clashes with Israeli forces on Sunday.
An estimated 1,990 Palestinians have been injured since the beginning of this month, as soldiers use stun grenades, gas bombs, rubber-coated steel bullets and, to a lesser extent, live ammunition on demonstrators.
‘Green light to shoot children’
“If you follow the rhetoric of Israeli leaders, if you listen to their statements, it is clear that soldiers and settlers have been given the green light to shoot Palestinian children,” Ayed Abu Qtaish, accountability director of Defence for Children International – Palestine, told Al Jazeera.
Earlier on Sunday, Israel bombed a home in the Gaza Strip, killing Noor Hassan, a 27-year-old pregnant woman, and her three-year-old daughter, Rahaf.
Marwan Barbakh, 13, and Omar Othman, 15, were both shot and killed by Israeli soldiers during protests on the Gaza border on Saturday.
A day earlier, six Palestinians – including 15-year-old Muhammad al-Raqb – were shot dead during similar protests in areas across Gaza.
“As always, we do not expect the soldiers who shot and killed children to be held accountable,” said Qtaish, adding that nine Palestinians under the age of 18 have been killed by Israeli soldiers or settlers since the beginning of the year.
As the ongoing escalation between Israelis and Palestinians continues, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has moved to implement harsh security measures.
Netanyahu’s cabinet met on Sunday and unanimously approved a bill setting still unspecified mandatory minimum sentences for Palestinians caught throwing rocks, molotov cocktails, or fireworks, according to local media reports.
The prime minister has also moved to outlaw the Northern Islamic Movement, whose constituency is made of Palestinians who carry Israeli citizenship and live in communities across the country.
Earlier this month, Netanyahu vowed to take measures allowing Israel to expedite punitive home demolitions against alleged Palestinian attackers.
Last week, in occupied East Jerusalem, Israel demolished three homes belonging to Palestinians who were killed while attacking Israelis.
According to a statement published by al-Haq, a Ramallah-based rights group, punitive home demolitions are “a form of collective punishment, which is prohibited under the Fourth Geneva Convention”.