The IDF expressed regret over the accidental killing of a Palestinian teenager after soldiers mistook a toy rifle he carried for a real one in Kabbatiyah, near Jenin, on Wednesday morning. Palestinians identified the youth as Aref Amin Samadi, 15, and claimed he was mentally disturbed.
Following an initial probe into the incident, the army said clashes erupted in the town where soldiers were operating and shots were fired at them. They they spotted Samadi, who appeared to be armed, standing about 100 meters away. According to the army, he ignored their calls to halt and did not heed their warning shots. Soldiers opened fire, hitting him. He was transferred by the Red Crescent ambulance service to the hospital and, shortly after, reports were received that he had died.
Issam Nazaal, the local mayor, told reporters that Samadi was mentally disturbed and approached the soldiers to ask them to leave.
Central Command officials said the incident only served to highlight the complex situation soldiers are confronted with, especially when the terror organizations choose to operate from within the civilian population. It is not the first incident in which Palestinian teens were killed after soldiers mistook toy weapons for real ones.
Last November, Ahmed Ismail Khativ, 13, was shot and killed in Jenin by soldiers who thought the plastic M16 rifle he held was real.In January last year, Salah Eidin Dharaghma,12, was shot by soldiers after aiming his toy rifle at soldiers.
Elsewhere in the West Bank, three Palestinian youths who threw a pipe bomb at reservists manning a checkpoint north west of Jenin were arrested. The soldiers found an additional three pipe bombs in their possession.
In the early morning, security forces arrested 18 fugitives affiliated with Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah Tanzim in Tulkarm, Jenin and villages west of the city and east of Hebron.
A Kassam rocket fell Wednesday afternoon in an open area in the western Negev, said IDF sources. No injuries or property damage were reported.