Palestinian teen shot by IDF, allegedly while throwing explosive, dies

16-year-old is the fourth Palestinian killed in clashes with Israeli forces near site of new illegal West Bank settlement outpost Evyatar

Palestinian protesters attend a demonstration against the Evyatar settlement outpost, south of Nablus, on June 4, 2021, in the West Bank. (JAAFAR ASHTIYEH / AFP)
Palestinian protesters attend a demonstration against the Evyatar settlement outpost, south of Nablus, on June 4, 2021, in the West Bank. (JAAFAR ASHTIYEH / AFP)

A 16-year-old Palestinian who was shot by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, allegedly after hurling an explosive device at them, died of his injuries on Thursday.

The Israel Defense Forces said Wednesday a group of dozens of Palestinians was making its way toward troops at the Evyatar illegal outpost when one charged at them and threw a suspicious object, which exploded. An IDF soldier fired first in the air and then toward the suspect, who was hit and critically injured. There were no Israeli casualties, the army said.

According to the Palestinian Authority’s Wafa news agency, the teenager, a resident of nearby Beita, south of Nablus, died in the hospital early Thursday of a gunshot wound to the head. He was identified as Ahmad Zahi Bani Shamsa.

Three other Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire during different clashes between Beita residents and Israeli forces in recent days, including another teenager, 15-year-old Mohammad Hamayel.

The area around Beita has seen repeated clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians in recent weeks following the reestablishment of a new West Bank outpost known as Evyatar on land close to the town. Palestinians have hurled stones at troops and burned swaths of land, while Israeli soldiers have responded with riot dispersal munitions and live bullets.

The land on which Evyatar was reestablished in April historically belonged to the adjacent Palestinian villages of Beita, Kablan and Yitma, though residents have been barred access to it for decades for what the IDF has said were security reasons.

The outpost has quickly grown over the last two months, swelling to roughly 40 buildings for dozens of families. The outpost’s Facebook page boasts that Evyatar prevents contiguity between the surrounding Palestinian villages while connecting the Israeli settlement of Tapuah to the Za’atara Junction and Migdalim settlement.

On Sunday, the head of the IDF’s Central Command issued a “demarcation order” barring additional construction in Evyatar and ordering all inhabitants to vacate the site and remove their belongings by next week.

Evyatar has already been razed several times since it was built in 2013 after the murder of Yitzhar resident Evyatar Borovsky in a stabbing attack at the Tapuah Junction.

The violence around Evyatar comes amid a general uptick in hostilities in the West Bank.

On Wednesday, Israeli Border Police arrested a Palestinian woman in possession of a knife at the entrance to Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs. The woman aroused the suspicion of officers outside the West Bank holy site, and they proceeded to carry out an arrest according to protocol, during which the woman threw her knife at the ground upon command. No one was injured in the incident, Border Police said.

Hours earlier, a Palestinian woman attempted to commit a car-ramming and stabbing attack near the central West Bank Palestinian town of Hizme before being shot and killed. There were no Israeli casualties.

The official PA news agency Wafa identified the woman as Mai Afaneh, 29, from the town of Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem. Reports said Afaneh had written on Facebook hours before the attack: “I don’t have much time left in life.”

On Saturday, a Palestinian woman was shot dead after she ran at guards manning a West Bank crossing brandishing a knife and ignored multiple calls to halt, police said at the time.

The day before that, a Palestinian teenager was killed in clashes with Israel Defense Force soldiers in the northern West Bank.

Last Thursday, two officers in the Palestinian Authority’s security service were shot dead in an exchange of fire with Israeli forces operating in the northern West Bank. A third Palestinian, a suspected member of the Islamic Jihad terror group who was the target of an Israeli arrest operation, was also killed in the firefight. Reports indicated two Palestinian Military Intelligence officers on guard duty noticed the arrest operation taking place, with the undercover Israeli forces operating out of a civilian vehicle, and chose to engage.

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