Israeli troops kill Palestinian teen in West Bank

AP News
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Posted: Jun 21, 2016 11:12 AM
Israeli troops kill Palestinian teen in West Bank

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli troops shot and killed a 15-year-old Palestinian early Tuesday in the West Bank and wounded four others in what the army said appeared to be an accidental shooting.

The military said soldiers opened fire at a group of Palestinians who were hurling stones and firebombs at cars on a West Bank highway. But based on an initial inquiry, "it appears that uninvolved bystanders were mistakenly hit during the pursuit," it said. Three Israeli civilians were hurt.

Wajih Ahmad, head of the Beit Ur al-Tahta local council, said the teen, Mahmoud Badran, was killed when the car he was traveling in was hit by Israeli fire. Officials said four others were wounded, including two of Badran's brothers. The mayor said the group had been returning from a late-night pool party.

"We condemn in the strongest terms this brutal attack," said Palestinian official Saeb Erekat. "The international community has the responsibility to stop allowing Israel's impunity for the crimes it commits against the occupied land and people of Palestine."

Palestinian officials initially said the deceased was 14 years old, but later corrected themselves.

Over the past nine months, Palestinians have carried out dozens of attacks, including stabbings, shootings and car ramming assaults, which have killed 32 Israelis and two American tourists. About 200 Palestinians have been killed during that time. Israel has identified most of them as attackers while the rest died in clashes with Israeli troops.

The assaults were once near-daily incidents but have become less frequent in recent weeks.

Also Tuesday, the Israeli military demolished the home of a Palestinian who stabbed to death an American tourist and war veteran in an attack earlier this year.

The troops entered the West Bank village of Hajjah to knock down the residence of Bashar Masalha. In March, he killed Taylor Force and wounded 10 others in a stabbing attack on a Tel Aviv beachfront promenade.

Force was a Vanderbilt University graduate student visiting Israel on a school trip. He previously graduated from West Point and served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Masalha was killed by police after the attack.

Israel says it carries out housing demolitions to deter future attacks. The Palestinians consider it a form of collective punishment.