A Palestinian teenager has been shot dead in the southern West Bank city of Hebron (Al-Khalil), after Israeli security forces stationed at a checkpoint opened fire on him.
Israeli news source Ynet described the incident as an attempted “terror attack”.
Maan News Agency, a Palestinian news website, said that Israeli forces had shot the teenager in Hebron’s Old City and have identified him as Muhammad Ziad Awad Salaymah.
One Hebron resident said the teenager was shot up to six times.
Micky Rosenfeld, a spokesman for Israeli police, said that “a Palestinian pulled a pistol in front of border police on patrol in Hebron” near a flashpoint holy site after darkness fell.
“Police opened fire at him, critically injuring him. He was later pronounced dead at the scene,” Rosenfeld said.
Rosenfeld said an initial investigation indicated “he pulled a fake pistol. They [troops at the scene] thought it was real … it’s not clear why he did that.”
After the shooting, dozens of Palestinians began protesting in the Old City, with Israeli forces used tear gas and live ammunition to quell the demonstrations.
“They have orders to shoot with live bullets now,” a resident of Hebron told Al Jazeera.
Israeli TV’s Channel 7 reported that a senior Israeli military commander in the West Bank said that “a soldier operating in the field has the option to make the appropriate decision after evaluating the situation and the amount of danger he and his colleagues are facing, and that based on his personal evaluation, he can resort to the use of live ammunition”.
Elie Yishai, Israel’s interior minister and Shaul Mofaz, the head of the Kadima opposition party, have recently demanded during a meeting of the Ministerial Council that soldiers should be allowed to use maximum force against threats from Palestinians, including live ammunition.
Israeli soldiers use rubber-coated metal bullets, tear gas bombs and stun grenades against non-violent protesters in the West Bank – in addition to spraying them with water mixed with chemicals.
These tactics have led to the injuries of hundreds and even several deaths among protesters.
(Al Jazeera and Agencies – www.aljazeera.com)