Israeli Forces Shoot Dead 19-Year-Old Palestinian in Bethlehem

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An Israeli soldier fires a tear gas canister towards Palestinian protesters following Friday prayers on February 13, 2015, at the Aida refugee camp, near the West Bank city of Bethlehem. AFP/Mousa al-Shaer

Published Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) shot and killed a Palestinian teenager during a predawn arrest raid in Bethlehem's Duheisha refugee camp, locals and medics said.

Jihad Shehada al-Jaafari, 19, was shot under his left shoulder while standing on the rooftop of his house near the main road by the camp, witnesses said.

He was hit by a bullet after the IOF opened heavy fire in the densely-populated refugee camp following clashes with locals during an arrest raid.

An Israeli soldier was struck by a Molotov cocktail during the clashes and sustained burns.

Jaafari was taken to al-Yamama hospital in nearby al-Khader, where he was declared dead.

Medics said the teenager died of internal bleeding, with witnesses at the scene saying Israeli forces stopped ambulances from reaching his body.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli army claimed that troops were attacked by people throwing stones and incendiary devices, adding that one soldier was wounded.

"After trying in vain to disperse the crowd of attackers, our forces felt in danger and opened fire at the leader of the rioters, who was hit," the spokeswoman said, without elaborating.

Earlier this month, Israeli forces shot and injured 17-year-old Jamel Shtewi and 17-year-old Mohammed Yousef Burqan in annexed East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.

In December, a single bullet to the heart fired by an Israeli soldier was enough to kill 17-year-old Imam Jamil Ahmed Dweikat, a Palestinian teen from the town of Beita south of Nablus.

Imam was the 50th Palestinian to be killed in the occupied West Bank by Israeli forces so far that year, and at least the 2,335th Palestinian to be killed by the Israeli military, including those killed in the Gaza Strip.

Since September 2000, following the Second Intifada, at least 9,100 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis, including 2,053 Palestinian children, the equivalent of one Palestinian child being killed every three days for the past 14 years.

The roots of the Israel-Palestine conflict date back to 1917, when the British government, in the now-famous "Balfour Declaration," called for "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people."

Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Zionist state — a move never recognized by the international community.

(Ma’an, Al-Akhbar)

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