Hundreds mourn Palestinian boy killed by Israeli forces as both sides report violence across the West Bank


The death of Qusai Hamamrah marked the second fatal shooting by Israeli forces in the village in five days and came amid a series of violent incidents and clashes across the territory overnight.

Wrapped in the Palestinian flag, the boy’s body was carried through the village by men hailing him as a martyr. His mother told CNN she had been worried after warning Qusai not to go out after the family finished iftar — the meal that breaks the daily fast during Ramadan.

“Right after he went out, I got the news that he had been killed,” Umm Mohammed said. “He was such a kind-hearted boy, very caring.”

Israel’s army said soldiers had fired at him after he threw a Molotov cocktail at them.

“IDF soldiers used live ammunition in order to stop the immediate threat, in accordance with the open fire regulations. A hit was identified. No IDF injuries were reported,” the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement.

An eyewitness told CNN that soldiers were shooting at someone else preparing firebombs and that Qusai had been seeking shelter from the bullets when he was hit. Ayman Hamamrah showed CNN holes in the wall of his house he said were caused by the Israeli soldiers’ live fire.

Just meters away from the house stood several concrete blocks — in front of which 47-year-old Ghada Sabateen was shot by soldiers on Saturday. The army said troops fired at her legs after she failed to heed calls and warning shots to stop at the pop-up checkpoint. The Palestinian health ministry said she died from loss of blood.

Dozens of soldiers and Israeli border police were present in the area again on Thursday, amid fears the funeral could trigger further unrest in the village, which lies just a few kilometers west of Bethlehem.

Violence across West Bank

Tensions are high across Israel and the West Bank as Israeli forces step up operations in the face of what Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has called a “new wave of terrorism” — four attacks in Israeli towns and cities that have killed 14 people.

Both Israeli and Palestinian sources reported new violence in a number of locations across the West Bank on Wednesday night.

A 20-year-old Palestinian man was shot dead during clashes in Silwad, to the northeast of Ramallah, the Palestinian health ministry said. It named him as Omar Alyan and said he had been shot in the chest. At least five others were treated with injuries from live fire, the ministry reported. Video on social media showed significant unrest in the village Wednesday night, with hundreds of people throwing rocks at Israeli military vehicles driving through the town.

In a statement, Israeli security officials said its forces were carrying out operations in the area linked to their search for a 33-year-old member of Hamas who had escaped from a Palestinian Authority prison.

The Shin Bet statement said Maad Hamed — in prison for his role in a shooting attack that killed an Israeli man in 2015 — was arrested in the nearby village of Kobar. An undisclosed number of people in Silwad were also arrested on suspicion of “promoting terrorist activities.”

Additionally, two Palestinians were killed Thursday morning in clashes with Israeli forces in Jenin, the Palestinian health ministry said.

Jenin, in the north of the West Bank, has been a focus of Israeli security operations in recent days because two of the Palestinian gunmen who carried out recent attacks inside Israel came from the area.

A statement from the Israeli army said security forces had arrested a total of 18 people suspected of terrorism activities during overnight operations across the West Bank, as well as confiscating weapons.

This story has been updated.

Quoted from Various Sources

Published for: The Bloggers Briefing