A 12-year old Palestinian boy has died after being shot by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said.
Mohammed Allamy was a passenger in a car being driven by his father when the incident happened at the entrance to the town of Beit Ummar, halfway between Bethlehem and Hebron, according to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa.
The agency report said the 12-year old was shot in the chest and taken to hospital in Hebron where he succumbed to his wounds a few hours later.
The Israeli army said it was aware of claims its soldiers had killed a child and said it was investigating the circumstances of the event. In a lengthy statement, the army said soldiers had approached the car after previously observing its occupants trying to bury the body of a new-born baby in a shallow grave.
“Earlier Wednesday, IDF troops observed suspicious activity near a military checkpoint adjacent to Beit Ummar, north of Hebron. A few men exited their vehicle and were seen digging in the ground before leaving the scene. IDF troops approached the scene with caution and upon examination found two bags, one of which contained the body of a newborn infant.
A short while after, IDF troops spotted a vehicle approaching the area and concluded that it was the same vehicle as before,” the statement said.
The army statement went on to say that soldiers had tried to stop the car by shouting and firing warning shots into the air. One of the soldiers then fired towards the car’s wheels in order to stop it, the statement concluded.
The incident comes a day after a 41-year old Palestinian man was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers at the entrance to the West Bank town of Beita, about 10 kilometers south of Nablus.
Shadi Salim, a father of five, who worked for the local Palestinian municipality, had gone to the town to fix a problem with its water supply, local resident Abu Abdullah told CNN, when he was shot dead by Israeli soldiers.
The Israeli army said Salim had approached the soldiers in a threatening way holding what appeared to be an iron bar. “After not stopping, even though the soldiers fired in the air, the force’s commander fired at the suspect,” an army spokesperson said, according to reports in Israeli media.
“Shadi had tools with him and wrenches for plumbing. They killed him in cold blood,” Abu Abdullah said.
Beita has been the scene of large protests for several months over the establishment of a nearby illegal settler outpost, and several Palestinians have been killed by Israeli soldiers since the beginning of May in what the army describes as violent riots.
There were no reports from Israeli or Palestinian sources of clashes at the time of Salim’s death.