Palestinians say 16-year-old shot in head by IDF two weeks ago dies of injuries

Montaser Mohammad Theeb Shawa hit by gunfire in Balata camp in West Bank city of Nablus as soldiers came under fire while securing passage of Jewish pilgrims to Joseph’s Tomb

Israeli soldiers near the Joseph's Tomb, in the West Bank city of Nablus, April 13, 2022. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)
Israeli soldiers near the Joseph's Tomb, in the West Bank city of Nablus, April 13, 2022. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)

A 16-year-old Palestinian died Monday from his wounds almost two weeks after allegedly being shot in the head by Israeli forces in the West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry said.

The ministry announced the death of “Montaser Mohammad Theeb Shawa, 16, of his wounds, which he sustained two weeks ago by the occupation (Israeli) bullets in Balata camp” in Nablus in the northern West Bank.

The statement added that the “bullet penetrated his head.”

Medical sources at the Rafidia hospital in Nablus said Shawa had been shot on February 8.

The Israeli army said in a statement that “on the evening of February 8… armed gunmen fired at soldiers” who secured Jewish worshippers at Joseph’s Tomb, a religious site near the Balata refugee camp.

The force “responded with live fire,” the Israeli statement said, adding without elaborating that a person had been hit.

Nablus has seen frequent clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen in recent months.

Palestinian youths throw stones at army vehicles during a military operation by the Israeli army to arrest wanted persons from the Balata camp near the West Bank city of Nablus, on August 17, 2022. (JAAFAR ASHTIYEH / AFP)

Orthodox Israelis visit Joseph Tomb’s on a monthly basis, if not more frequently, and the pilgrimages almost always spark violent clashes with Palestinian locals when the IDF enters Nablus beforehand to secure the area for the arrival of the pilgrims.

The shrine, regarded by some as the final resting place of the biblical patriarch Joseph, is located inside Area A of the West Bank, which is officially under complete Palestinian Authority control, though the Israeli military regularly enters, despite Palestinian opposition.

The IDF bars Israeli citizens from entering Area A without prior authorization, and some criticize the monthly incursions as an unnecessary provocation that places Israeli soldiers at risk.

The recent incident came at a time of rising violence in the region, with the Israeli military pressing on with an anti-terror offensive in the West Bank which has netted more than 2,500 arrests, left 171 Palestinians dead in 2022, and another 49 since the beginning of the year.

Many of them were killed while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, though some were uninvolved civilians.

The operation was launched to deal with a series of attacks that left 31 people in Israel dead in 2022, and 11 more since the beginning of this year.

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