Jerusalem // Israel on Tuesday admitted its troops killed a 15-year-old Palestinian and wounded four others in the occupied West Bank after they were mistaken for stone-throwers, drawing condemnation from Palestinian officials who called the killing a “cold-blooded assassination”.
The stark admission drew renewed attention to the Jewish state’s controversial open fire rules.
Palestinian teen, Mahmoud Badran, was killed when the car he was travelling in was fired upon by an Israeli military patrol, according to Wajih Ahmad, head of the Beit Ur Al-Tahta local council. The hospital in the West Bank city of Ramallah said another Palestinian was moderately wounded and three others were lightly wounded.
Palestine Liberation Organisation secretary general Saeb Erekat condemned the shooting and said the teenagers were returning “from a visit to the only nearby swimming pool.”
He said Badran had been “murdered” and called it a “cold-blooded assassination”.
Circumstances surrounding the incident were unclear and the Israeli army was investigating, but the military admitted that it appeared those shot were “uninvolved bystanders”.
The Israeli army had initially said that troops shot two people “resulting in the death of one of the attackers” after a number of Palestinians hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at moving vehicles near the village of Beit Sira. The stone-throwers were also said to have hurled firebombs at passing cars and poured oil on the road.
Two people were also arrested.
Israel’s response to Palestinian stone-throwers has been the subject of debate, with right-wing politicians calling for looser open-fire rules and human rights groups warning of the dangers of such policies.
Also on Tuesday, Israeli forces demolished the home of a Palestinian who killed a US tourist and wounded several Israelis in a March stabbing rampage in Tel Aviv.
An army spokeswoman said the Palestinian carried out the March 8 seafront knife attacks which killed 29-year-old Texan Taylor Allen Force and wounded at least 10 Israelis as US vice president Joe Biden arrived for a visit.
The Palestinian was shot dead during the attack.
Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expedited home demolitions of Palestinian attackers in a bid to deter violence, a measure human rights groups say amounts to collective punishment, forcing families to suffer for the acts of others.
* Agence France-Presse and Associated Press