Palestinian teen killed by IDF was uninvolved in firebombing
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Army says 'bystanders' were mistakenly hit

Palestinian teen killed by IDF was uninvolved in firebombing

Mahmoud Badran, 15, initially reported to have thrown Molotov cocktails at cars; Palestinians lambast Netanyahu for killing

Illustrative: An Israeli soldier during an operation near Bethlehem in the West Bank on December 8, 2015. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Illustrative: An Israeli soldier during an operation near Bethlehem in the West Bank on December 8, 2015. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian teenager and injured several others who were initially suspected of being involved in a rock throwing attack early Tuesday, but were later found not to have been involved, the Israel Defense Forces said.

Palestinian media identified the killed teenager as 15-year-old Mahmoud Badran from the village of Kafr Qadum, east of Qalqilya.

The military opened an investigation into the incident, which occurred outside of Jerusalem near the Palestinian village of Beit Ur al-Tahta, an army spokesperson said.

Three Israelis were injured when their car was pelted with stones on Route 443, a highway connecting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, the IDF said. Several vehicles were also damaged.

The army initially claimed the group of Palestinians who were shot had been those responsible for the rock and Molotov cocktail throwing, but later retracted the statement.

None of the people injured are believed to have been involved in the rock-throwing incident, an IDF spokesperson told The Times of Israel.

“From initial inquiry, it appears uninvolved bystanders were mistakenly hit during the pursuit,” an army spokeswoman said.

Badran and the other Palestinians had been driving home from a nearby pool where they had gone swimming after the Ramadan fast when they were shot, the head of the local Palestinian council, Abd Qassem, told the Reuters news service.

The army said troops shot at least two people, “after a number of Palestinians hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at moving vehicles near the village of Beit Sira on Route 443.”

An ambulance at the scene of a stabbing attack on Route 443 on August 15, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
An ambulance at the scene of a stabbing attack on Route 443 on August 15, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The IDF would only confirm the death of one Palestinian, not the total number of people injured. However, Palestinian security officials told the Palestinian Ma’an news agency that four others were wounded in the incident.

One of the injured was reportedly not a resident of the West Bank, but of Qatar, and was in the country visiting family for Ramadan, Qassem said.

Dawood Kharroub, Muhammad Kharroub and Ahd Ikram Suleiman were named as three of the people injured, while the identity of the fourth was not immediately known, Ma’an reported.

The Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Ministry slammed the the killing, calling it an “execution” and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “reaction to the European Union’s adoption of the French initiative,” referring to the EU’s recent move to back a French drive for a regional peace plan.

The PA also called on Palestinian, regional and international human rights organizations “to quickly document the circumstances of this heinous crime” so it can be tried in national and international courts.

Since Israeli-Palestinian violence erupted last October, some 33 Israelis have been killed in Palestinian stabbing, shooting, and car-ramming attacks. More than 200 Palestinians have also died during that time, most while carrying out attacks or attempted attacks on Israeli civilians and security forces, Israel says.

The past three months have seen a marked drop in the number of Palestinian terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank. The last multi-casualty event took place earlier this month, when two Palestinian terrorists opened fire in a Tel Aviv cafe, killing four people.

AFP and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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