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Jenin: Palestinian Boy Killed During Israeli Assault Was Unarmed – Family

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Eyewitnesses and the family of a 16-year-old Palestinian shot dead during Israel’s military assault in Jenin have told the BBC he was unarmed and killed “for no reason”, after videos emerged of the moment of his death.

Twelve Palestinians, including four teenage children, and one Israeli soldier were killed during the two-day incursion in the occupied West Bank last week.

Israel said all the Palestinians who were killed were combatants. But the videos show Abdul Rahman Hassan Ahmad Hardan, 16, was unarmed when he was shot.

The teenager was shot in the head outside al-Amal hospital on the second day of the military incursion, which Israel said was intended to root out a “safe haven of terrorism” in Jenin refugee camp.

It follows over a year of rising numbers of Palestinian armed attacks targeting Israelis, while Israel has intensified its deadly military raids in the West Bank. At least 160 Palestinians and more than 30 Israelis have been killed since January.

Israel’s government said its military operation last week was to stop the camp being a “refuge” for armed groups. It said it seized “hundreds” of guns and other weapons, including “advanced” improvised explosives.

It was its biggest assault in the West Bank in two decades, involving drone strikes into a packed urban area and armoured diggers causing massive destruction.

The United Nations accused Israel of using excessive force, while the Palestinian leadership called it a “war crime”.

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman Lt Col Richard Hecht, asked by the BBC last week about the casualties, said: “There were 12 people killed, every one that was killed was involved directly with terrorism.”

“A 17-year-old may be regarded as a minor but he’s holding weapons and firing… We can show that evidence. We have pictures of all of them, and intel that they were involved.”

After his death, Abdul Rahman Hardan was claimed as a member by the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad. However, his family has distanced itself from the claim, and Israel has yet to show evidence he posed a threat at the time he was fatally shot.

Under international law, the use of firearms by security forces against civilians is defined as a measure of last resort, and can only take place to stop an “imminent threat of death or serious injury”.

Children are also given added protections under international humanitarian law.

Sixteen-year-old Abdul Rahman was killed at 13:00 (10:00 GMT) on Tuesday, as confrontations had continued in the city. Some involved gunmen firing towards Israeli forces.

Others involved Palestinian youths throwing rocks at Israeli jeeps and armoured troop carriers – a frequent occurrence as young men try to repel Israel’s military raids into Palestinian cities.

In one video, first verified by the Times newspaper, the teenager can be seen standing in the street next to al-Amal hospital, close to a group of boys or young men. Rocks or other debris appear on the ground in the vicinity. No weapons are visible and Abdul Rahman appears unarmed.

Around 13 seconds into the footage, which has no sound, he leans forward to look down a street next to the hospital. He is then seen falling to the ground, having been shot in the head.

The original source of the video is not known to the BBC, but the boy’s family and the eyewitnesses verified it as showing Abdul Rahman being shot.

Written by: Kevin Nwabueze

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