Ramallah, September 10, 2023—Israeli forces shot and killed a 15-year-old Palestinian boy in the southern occupied West Bank last night.
Milad Monther Wajih Al-Raei, 15, was shot in the back by Israeli forces around 8:30 p.m. on September 9 at the entrance to Al-Arroub refugee camp, opposite an Israeli military tower, near Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International – Palestine. During confrontations between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces, an Israeli soldier shot Milad in the back from a distance of about 20 meters (66 feet). Palestinian men carried Milad for about 80 meters (262 feet) to a private car, which transported him to Beit Fajjar Health Center then to Al-Yamamah Hospital in Bethlehem, where doctors pronounced him dead around 10 p.m.
“Palestinian children live in a hyper-militarized context where the Israeli military’s incursions into Palestinian communities to arrest and intimidate Palestinian civilians is the norm,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “Israeli forces routinely shoot to kill in situations not justified by international law with complete impunity.”
Milad sustained one gunshot wound to his back and the bullet fragmented inside his abdomen, leading to massive internal bleeding, according to documentation collected by DCIP.
45 Palestinian children have been killed in 2023, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces and settlers have shot and killed at least 37 Palestinian children and killed one Palestinian child with a targeted drone strike in the occupied West Bank. Six Palestinian children in Gaza were killed in the May 2023 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip, and a 10-year-old Palestinian child in Gaza succumbed to head wounds he sustained during the Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip in August 2022.
Under international law, intentional lethal force is only justified in circumstances where a direct threat to life or of serious injury is present. However, investigations and evidence collected by DCIP regularly suggest that Israeli forces use lethal force against Palestinian children in circumstances that may amount to extrajudicial or wilful killings.
53 Palestinian children were killed in 2022, according to documentation collected by DCIP, including 36 Palestinian children shot and killed by Israeli forces or settlers in the occupied West Bank. DCIP documented the killing of 17 Palestinian children between August 5–7 after Israeli forces launched a military offensive in the Gaza Strip.