16-year old boy shot dead by Israeli snipers
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16-year old boy shot dead by Israeli snipers

This afternoon the Israeli military killed 16-year old Mohammad Qadus from Iraq Burin, a village south of Nablus, with a live round on his heart. A second youth, Asaud Qadus, 19 years old, was critically injured after being shot in the head. Mohammad was trying to carry Asaud to safety when he was hit.

Today, just as every Saturday in the last few weeks, settlers from the settlement of Bracha attacked the village of Iraq Burin. The community of around 600 people has lost over 100 dunum to the settlers who claim more land.

Eyewitnesses report that today the number of settlers and Israeli military was unusually high. At around noon, settlers and soldiers invaded the village.

People stepped out of their homes to defend their village and a struggle ensued. The military took up positions with several jeeps at strategic points and chased the youth in the streets of Iraq Burin.

They shot tear gas, sound grenades and life ammunition randomly at homes and people. Asaud Qadus was shot by live ammunition in the head. Young Mohammad ran to carry the injured youth to safety but was himself targeted in the heart by live ammunition.

Medics and ambulances were prevented from entering the small community. Only after a long time both youth were allowed to be carried out of the village and to a hospital in private cars. Mohammad was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital in Nablus while Asaud is still in critical condition.

Two people were arrested but no further details are known about them yet.

Shoot-to-kill policy

Mohammad was the latest victim shot while protesting since Bassem Abu Rahmah, 31, was killed by a high velocity tear gas canister in Bi’lin last April. His death comes only two weeks after Ehab Barghouti, a 14-year-old boy from Nabi Saleh village near Ramallah was shot in the head with a rubber-coated steel bullet by the Israeli military on 5 March 2010. He is still in critical condition.

Killing children with live ammunition is not an accident, It is a crime. Of the 16 people killed by the Israeli military in connection with anti-Wall protests since 2002, half were under the age of 18.

The pattern of killings related to anti-Wall protests shows that the occupation forces engage in killings cycles: during a wave of killings in 2004/2005 8 were killed, then again between July 2008/ April 2009 6 were killed. This is very likely just the start of yet another wave of killings.

This systematic criminal policy against our people is a war crime and supports the settlers in stealing Palestinian land. Israel will continue with its shoot-to-kill policy against our children and youth until the international community starts to hold it accountable for its crimes.