Palestinian officials expressed outrage Tuesday over the killing of a Palestinian teenager who had been erroneously suspected of throwing rocks at cars on a highway earlier in the day, denouncing Israel and accusing troops of carrying out an “execution” of the 15-year-old boy.
Israeli troops shot dead Mahmoud Badran 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 Badran as a resident of 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, following an attack on Israeli cars.
Three Israelis were injured when their car was pelted with stones and Molotov cocktails on Route 443, a highway connecting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, the IDF said. Several other vehicles were also damaged.
PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat condemned Israel’s “brutal attack” on the “apartheid road” in which Badran was slain and four others injured.
“This coldblooded assassination reaffirms our calls to the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions, to initiate an immediate extensive investigation into Israeli extrajudicial killings of Palestinians, particularly children,” he said in a statement. “The international community has the responsibility to stop allowing Israel’s impunity for the crimes it commits against the occupied land and people of Palestine.”
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry called the incident an “extrajudicial execution” and described it as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “reaction to EU’s adoption of the French initiative,” alluding to Brussels’s support for the Paris regional peace plan rejected by Israel.
The ministry blamed Netanyahu for not seeking a peaceful means to end the conflict.
The Palestinian ministry also called for 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.
An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson responded to the Palestinians, saying their comments were “cynical slander” and accusing the PA of inciting violence against Israel.
“If it weren’t for the difficult security situation which is entirely the fault of Palestinian incitement and terrorism, Israel wouldn’t have been forced to make use of lethal force in order to protect its citizens,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said.
“Unfortunately the list of Israelis killed by stones thrown by Palestinians at roads is a long list and every injured Israeli is proof of the need for taking security measures,” he added.
The army initially claimed the 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.”
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.
Erekat named two of those injured as Badran’s brothers Amir, 16, and Hadi, 17, as well as Daoud Abu Hassan, 16, and Majd Badran,16. He said Majd Badran was visiting the area for the summer.
— Ma'an News Agency (@MaanNewsAgency) June 21, 2016
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.