Israeli soldiers kill Palestinian youth in West Bank

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 15, 2013 12:53 PM
Israeli soldiers kill Palestinian youth in West Bank

BUDRUS, West Bank (Reuters) - Israeli soldiers shot dead a 17-year-old Palestinian near the village of Budrus in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Tuesday, Palestinian witnesses and medics said.

A second boy was shot and injured by soldiers in a nearby village, Palestinians said, but the Israeli military said it was not aware of any such incident.

Violence and deadly confrontations have become more frequent in the Palestinian territory since Israel announced plans late last year to expand settlements and the Palestinians won de-facto statehood recognition at the United Nations in November.

Sameer Awad was the second Palestinian killed in four days by Israeli troops in the West Bank, where few clashes in recent years have ended with fatalities.

Budrus, north of Ramallah, adjoins a barrier that Israel says is meant to keep out suicide bombers. The barrier - a network of fences interspersed with concrete walls that encroaches on occupied land in many places - is a focal point for protests by local residents against Israeli soldiers.

Awad's classmates said they were on the way to school on a bus when clashes broke out between demonstrators and Israeli soldiers patrolling the barrier.

It was unclear whether the teenager had been shot on the bus, or whether people from the bus had taken part in the demonstration.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said several Palestinians had approached the security fence near Budrus and damaged it as they attempted to cross into Israel.

"Soldiers at the scene responded immediately in order to secure the area and to prevent the infiltration," she said.

Clashes subsequently broke out at Awad's funeral as local youths threw stones at Israeli soldiers, who responded by firing tear gas and rubber bullets.

In the nearby village of Deir Nidham, Palestinian medics said Israeli soldiers had shot a Palestinian boy, who was taken to be treated in an Israeli hospital. A local source named the boy as Yazan, and said he was 12 or 13.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said there was no report or information of a boy being shot and taken to an Israeli hospital.

"During a violent and illegal riot that took place in Deir Nidham, several Palestinian rioters hurled rocks at security forces, who responded by using riot dispersal means," she said. "A Palestinian was lightly injured and received treatment on scene."

(Reporting by Mohamad Torokman in Budrus, Noah Browning in Ramallah and Ori Lewis in Jerusalem; Editing by Kevin Liffey)