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14-year-old Palestinian killed by troops, allegedly while hurling firebombs at cars

Local Palestinians claim al-Khader resident Muhammad Shahada was on other side of security barrier from road, too far away to threaten drivers

Mohammad Shahada, 14, who was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers on Tuesday, February 22, 2022. The Israeli army says Shahada threw Molotov cocktails at passing Israeli cars on Route 60. (Courtesy)
Mohammad Shahada, 14, who was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers on Tuesday, February 22, 2022. The Israeli army says Shahada threw Molotov cocktails at passing Israeli cars on Route 60. (Courtesy)

A Palestinian teen was shot dead by Israeli troops Tuesday night while allegedly throwing Molotov cocktails at passing cars near the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

Palestinian Authority health officials identified the deceased as Muhammad Shahada, 14, a resident of al-Khader, near Bethlehem.

Israeli soldiers provided him with first aid on the scene, but he died of his injuries shortly thereafter, the Israeli army said.

Israeli soldiers ambushed “three Palestinian suspects” throwing firebombs at a spot near al-Khader, the army said

Israelis traveling along the area’s main traffic artery, Route 60, have repeatedly been attacked with Molotov cocktails at the juncture in recent weeks.

The Israel Defense Forces said the three suspects, including Shahada, were responsible for a string of local firebomb attacks.

”The troops fired at one of the suspects while he threw a Molotov cocktail, and hit him,” the IDF said in a statement.

Former Khader town mayor Adnan Sbeih said he heard the shooting and rushed out of his home, which lies on the outskirts of the town near the scene of the ambush.

The Israeli security barrier separates al-Khader from Route 60 and Sbeih and others noted that Shahada was shot on the al-Khader side of the wall, disputing whether he actually posed a risk to motorists.

“The child was maybe 100 meters from the wall. But the army seemed to have fired from much closer. It seemed like the army had prepared an ambush on this side of the wall,” Sbeih said in a phone call.

Ahmad Salah, Muhammad’s cousin, told The Times of Israel that he believed Shahada was nowhere near close enough to the wall to threaten Israelis — “even if we assume that he was throwing Molotov cocktails.”

He pointed to a video from the scene which showed soldiers giving first aid in what appeared to be a courtyard between homes.

“You can see in the videos that he’s still within the houses [of the village]. People filmed from their homes through the windows — that’s not next to the wall,” claimed Salah.

The West Bank has seen a rise in violent confrontations between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians in recent weeks. Two Palestinians were shot last week during confrontations with Israeli forces. Nihad al-Barghouti, 19, was shot and killed near Nebi Saleh last Tuesday after allegedly throwing firebombs at a military post, although Palestinian witnesses dispute the matter.

The second Palestinian, 17-year-old Mohammad Abu Salah, was killed during a firefight between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians in the town of Silat al-Harithiya, near Jenin. The troops had arrived after dark to demolish part of a home belonging to a Palestinian charged in a terror attack in which yeshiva student Yehuda Dimentman was killed near the Homesh outpost in December.

Israeli security forces inspect the scene of a shooting attack near Homesh, in the West Bank, on December 16, 2021. (Hillel Maeir/Flash90)

Israeli undercover police killed three Palestinians during a rare daytime raid in the West Bank city of Nablus earlier this month. The Israeli troops fired dozens of rounds into the car before seizing two M-16 rifles from the vehicle and driving away from the scene.

Israeli defense officials said the three were behind a string of recent shooting attacks on military posts. They were later claimed as members by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, a loose coalition of armed groups affiliated with the ruling Fatah party.

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