Forty-one Palestinian children have been killed in the occupied Palestinian territory since October, Defense for Children International’s Palestine branch (DCIP) reported Friday.
All were killed as a “direct result of intensified violence,” DCIP said in a statement, and all but one were killed by Israeli military forces.
The number includes 31 Palestinians under the age of 18 who allegedly carried out knife or gun attacks, as well as others shot dead during clashes.
The report does not include a two-year-old who was killed alongside her pregnant mother in their home during an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli authorities have yet to open “full and transparent investigations” into any of the deaths, and reportedly refused a number of autopsy requests from children’s families, DCIP said.
The group also reported that the bodies of two children, identified as Masan Manasra and Motaz Oweisat, are still being held by the Israeli authorities.
DCIP criticized what it called Israel’s “shoot-to-kill” policy against Palestinian children.
“International law requires that intentional lethal force be used only when absolutely unavoidable,” DCIP said.
“Where individuals allegedly carry out a criminal act, they should be apprehended in accordance with international law and afforded due process of law.”
DCIP has launched investigations into a number of the deaths, including 14-year-old Haitham Ismail al-Baw.
Haitham was shot and killed by Israeli forces Feb. 5 after the Israeli army said the youth was throwing Molotov cocktails at vehicles driving on route 60.
Haitham’s cousin Wajdi told DCIP that they were not throwing stones or any other objects at the time Haitham was shot twice.
Palestinian doctors who examined Haitham’s body later that day told DCIP that one of the bullets struck his back, pierced through his lungs and chest, and exited from his mouth, killing the 14-year-old instantly.