RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — The Israeli military shot dead a 17-year-old Palestinian near the West Bank separation barrier on Tuesday, Palestinians said. The Israeli military said he had breached the barrier, which separated soldiers from protesters.
A classmate said a group of students threw rocks at soldiers near the barrier, a line of walls, trenches and fences Israel has built along and inside the West Bank. Muataz Awad said soldiers opened fire, killing Samir Awad from the village of Boudrous.
The military confirmed opening fire at protesters, saying some had cut through a section of the barrier fence. Military spokesman Capt. Eytan Buchman said troops "initiated standard rules of engagement, which included live fire." An investigation into the shooting has been ordered, and Buchman said he could not comment further on the open-fire order.
Also Tuesday, about 50 armed Palestinians shut the main road leading into the Balata refugee camp with burning tires to protest repeated attempts by Palestinian security forces to disarm them.
The gunmen have links to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement, and their recent protests have drawn attention to growing discontent with Abbas' rule. Abbas governs the West Bank, while Hamas militants have a rival government in the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli military said Monday that it discovered a tunnel Hamas militants burrowed from the Palestinian coastal territory of Gaza at least 100 meters (yards) deep into Israeli territory. Military spokeswoman Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich said the tunnel was dug in the direction of two Israeli communities, and the assumption was that militants had hoped to use it to stage an attack on civilians.
No Gaza militant group has claimed responsibility for digging the tunnel. Leibovich said it was discovered in the course of a routine military patrol, but would offer no specifics.
The military has discovered other such tunnels in the past. Leibovich said it was not clear whether the tunnel was dug before or after Israel's November offensive against Gaza militants.
In 2006, Palestinian militants burrowed under the border to an Israeli army base, killed two soldiers and captured a third, Sgt. Gilad Schalit. After being held captive in Gaza for more than five years, he was exchanged for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in 2011.
In another incident, Israeli police arrested 20 Palestinian activists when they tried to reach a protest tent encampment where demonstrators were evicted a few days earlier, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
Palestinian activists erected tents in the area known as E-1 last week to protest Israeli plans for a new settlement in the strategic West Bank location near Jerusalem.
Salah Khawaja, one of the activists, said some in the group of about 200 managed to get to the outermost tent and raised a Palestinian flag there before they were taken away.