A five-year-old Palestinian boy was severely injured when he was hit in the face by a rubber-coated bullet shot by Israeli troops Wednesday, Palestinian media reported.
According to Palestinian witnesses at the scene, the child, Muhammad Jamal Ubeid, was exiting a school bus near his home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya when police began firing rubber bullets at rioters who were hurling stones at Israeli vehicles near the West Bank city of Ma’aleh Adumim, Haaretz reported.
The boy’s uncle, however, denied that any clashes took place at the time of the shooting, according to the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency.
“An Israeli soldier fired a black rubber-coated bullet at the child from a close distance, injuring him under the eye,” the uncle claimed.
There was no immediate comment from the IDF.
Following the incident, the five-year-old was rushed to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital in Mount Scopus for emergency treatment. Doctors at the hospital said the boy suffered a fracture in a bone beneath his eye, and confirmed that the wound was typical of a rubber bullet infliction.
The child was later transferred to the Hadassah Hopsital in Ein Kerem for further treatment, Ma’an reported.
The incident comes one month after an eleven-year-old Palestinian boy lost his eye under similar circumstances during a protest in Issawiya.
Earlier this week, an Israeli police officer was injured Saturday in clashes with Palestinian rioters in Issawiya, after rioters threw rocks and fired fireworks at the official.
Police dispersed the crowds with riot dispersal means.
Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians have boiled over in recent months with frequent clashes between security forces and stone-throwing protesters, and a series of deadly “lone wolf” terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians.
Earlier Wednesday, Palestinian media reported that the bodies of two terrorists who carried out a deadly terror attack at a Jerusalem synagogue in November will be returned to their families by the end of this week.
The Israeli government has been withholding the bodies of cousins Uday and Ghassan Abu Jamal, who were shot dead by police after killing four worshipers and a cop in an attack during morning services on November 18.
Under an Israeli court order, the two terrorists will be buried in the West Bank and not in Jerusalem, where they resided, and only 40 people will be allowed to attend the funeral, the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency reported.
It was not immediately clear why Israel had decided to release the bodies, which it had been holding as a punitive measure.
Marissa Newsman and AFP contributed to this report.