The Israeli military handed over to Palestinian police an apparently mentally challenged Palestinian child who walked up to the fence of a Jewish settlement in the northern West Bank on Wednesday, the army said.
The 8-year-old child was spotted walking in an area adjacent to the Itamar settlement, near Nablus, on Wednesday morning. IDF troops were called out to investigate.
When the soldiers started speaking with the boy, who apparently had a mental disability, they noticed that his body was covered in “signs of harsh physical abuse,” an army spokesperson said.
“The child told them that he was being abused at home,” the spokesperson said.
According to the Palestinian Authority mouthpiece Safa, the signs of abuse included burns from molten plastic being poured on him.
The army dismissed reports in Palestinian media that the boy was kidnapped and beaten by settlers at Itamar. The spokesperson noted that at no point did the boy enter the settlement nor did settlers approach him.
The child was identified by Palestinian media as Bashar Abd al-Ghazal of the nearby village of Beit Furik.
According to Safa, al-Ghazal’s father died on Wednesday. The news site did not elaborate.
The IDF spokesperson said the soldiers gave the child “water, food and grape juice” before handing him over to PA security services.
The PA police did not respond to a Times of Israel request for comment on how it proceeded with the issue or the current whereabouts of the abused child.