4-year-old girl from East Jerusalem who was hit by stray bullet dies

Hospital says injuries sustained by Rafif Qara’een a week and a half ago when a round struck her head were too serious; police reported to say shot was fired from Palestinian town

The entrance to the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya, November 5, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
The entrance to the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya, November 5, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A four-year old Palestinian girl who was shot in East Jerusalem a week and a half ago died of her wounds Monday, Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital said.

Rafif Qara’een, a resident of the Issawiya neighborhood, was hit by an apparently stray bullet fired by an unknown shooter on May 21, according to police.

A relative told the Ynet website at the time that the family had sat down to eat the traditional iftar meal held each night during the month of Ramadan fasts, when a bullet suddenly hit her in the head.

The hospital said in a statement that Qara’een was unconscious and in life-threatening danger when she was brought in and put on a respirator. Despite being operated on by a team of pediatric neurosurgery experts, her “brain injury was extremely severe,” it said.

Qara’een ‘s grandfather, Mahmoud Abu Riyaleh, told the Walla news website that the family could not believe that she “had just gone like that.”

Abu Riyaleh recalled that the family did not hear any sounds of shooting when Qara’een was injured on May 21 and that they only found out it was a gunshot wound after they arrived at the hospital and doctors found the bullet. He said the round was later identified as an M-16 caliber bullet.

Police told the family that the bullet was apparently fired from the area of Anata, a town across the security barrier and inside Palestinian Authority territory, Abu Riyaleh said.

Local sources in Issawiya cast doubt on the police version as the family lives in the middle of the neighborhood and not near the security barrier, Haaretz reported. Palestinian sources said that Qara’een’s father had previously become involved in a family dispute that forced the family to move to Issawiya a year ago.

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