The army shot dead a Palestinian youth on Wednesday after spotting him and two others at the West Bank security barrier southwest of Hebron and suspecting them of attempting to sabotage it.
The soldiers had called on the teenagers to surrender. An army spokeswoman said that the trio ignored the request and a soldier then fired shots, striking one of the suspects.
“The soldiers began full arrest procedure. After all means were exhausted, the soldiers shot toward the main suspect, at his lower body, and a hit was identified. An Israeli medical team took him to an Israeli hospital, where he died of his wounds,” the spokeswoman said.
But relatives of the teenager who was killed, Yusef Shawamra, 15, and the nongovernmental organization B’Tselem disputed the IDF’s version of the event.
Sarit Michaeli of B’Tselem said that Shawamra and his two friends, aged 15 and 12, had gone to the area by the barrier to pick a type of thistle used for cooking. They went through a hole in the barrier that had already been cut, she said.
The IDF, she said, arrested the two teens who were with Shawamra and had yet to release them. Judea and Samaria police confirmed this, explaining that the boys had thrown stones at the security forces.
Shawamra’s cousin Nafez said, “He [Yusef] did not go to carry out a martyrdom operation or to resist the occupation or anything like that. He went to look for a source of income so he can spend money on his brothers and sister; his father has a big family and he was looking to help his father with bills. The occupation [army] was waiting and an angry racist soldier who holds grudges against Palestinians, as expected, shot him in cold blood and rendered him a martyr.”
Following the incident, local Palestinians gathered in the area and attempted to dismantle the security barrier.
When a military vehicle appeared at the site, they began throwing stones at troops, who responded with tear gas.
In the afternoon, a funeral was held for Yusef and his body was paraded on a gurney through the streets of his home village of Deir al-Asal al-Tahta.