Ramallah, occupied West Bank – Israeli special forces have chased and killed a 15-year-old Palestinian boy who saw them sneaking into Jenin refugee camp during a military raid in the northern occupied West Bank, documentation by a leading human rights group shows.
The Palestine chapter of Geneva-based Defense for Children International (DCIP) said in a report on Wednesday that Rafat Omar Ahmad Khamayseh was killed on Tuesday as he was leaving his grandfather’s house in the Jenin refugee camp.
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“As he left the house, Rafat saw Israeli special forces exiting three Palestinian licensed cars and surround the home of the father of a Palestinian man wanted for arrest. Rafat fled, yelling, ‘Special forces! Special forces!’ One Israeli soldier chased Rafat and shot him in the abdomen from a distance of 10 meters [33 feet],” DCIP said.
The Israeli forces shot at Rafat again when a Palestinian man came to his aid, said the group, the only rights organisation specifically focused on children in Palestine.
“The Palestinian man threw himself on top of Rafat and rolled him toward his house, less than five meters [16 feet] away. The man and his family sheltered Rafat for about an hour and a half as the Israeli military prevented ambulances from accessing Jenin refugee camp. Rafat died before an ambulance transferred him to Ibn Sina Hospital in Jenin.”
DCIP explained that the boy “was struck with one bullet that entered his abdomen and exited from the upper right side of his chest. … He bled extensively from his mouth and nose while waiting for an ambulance.”
According to local media, an initial medical report issued by Ibn Sina Specialized Hospital in Jenin said: “Khamayseh arrived at the hospital unconscious and without any signs of life.”
“Investigations and evidence collected by DCIP regularly suggest that Israeli forces use lethal force against Palestinian children in circumstances that may amount to extrajudicial or willful killings,” DCIP said.
Israeli forces have killed at least 240 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip since the start of 2023, including 46 children.
International and local rights groups have declared 2023 the “deadliest” year for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since 2005.
Israel stepped up its military raids, arrests and killings in Palestinian cities and villages in the occupied West Bank from June 2021 following a popular Palestinian uprising known as the “May outburst”, which swept Israel and the Palestinian territory it has illegally occupied for the past 56 years.
While the state of armed resistance in the occupied West Bank was largely dismantled by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel following the end of the second Intifada (uprising) in 2005, the city of Jenin and its refugee camp re-emerged in 2021 as a centre of armed resistance, with other cities and camps particularly in the north of the occupied West Bank following suit.
Uninvolved bystanders have been killed, along with civilians trying to defend their neighbourhoods, by the Israeli army during raids. Palestinian resistance fighters are killed in targeted assassinations as well as during armed confrontations.