Police to be probed over serious injury to 9-year-old boy in East Jerusalem raid
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Police to be probed over serious injury to 9-year-old boy in East Jerusalem raid

Father says boy, who was hit by sponge-tipped bullet, has a fractured skull and will almost certainly lose one of his eyes

A 9-year-old who was shot in the head by a  a sponge-tipped bullet during a police operation in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya in hospital in Jerusalem on February 26, 2020 (Screencapture/Channel 13)
A 9-year-old who was shot in the head by a a sponge-tipped bullet during a police operation in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya in hospital in Jerusalem on February 26, 2020 (Screencapture/Channel 13)

The police said Sunday that its internal investigations unit is probing the serious injury of a nine-year-old boy, who was apparently wounded by a sponge-tipped bullet during a police operation the previous day in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya.

“During a police operation, riot-dispersal means were used and a nine-year old minor was hurt,” the police said in a statement. “The incident has been transferred to the Justice Ministry’s Police Internal Investigations Department. We are sorry for the injury to the minor and wish him a speedy recovery.”

The boy, identified by his first name, Malek, was in serious condition in Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem on Sunday.

“He has a fractured skull, bleeding in the brain, his left eye has not yet been treated and he will probably lose it,” his father told Channel 13 TV news. “We don’t have much hope, they gave him a one percent chance of saving the eye.”

The father said Malek had gone to a store to buy something. When he came out the door “he was hit between the eyes.”

He denied that there were demonstrations prior to the incident.

Community leaders have argued that police have unreasonably stepped up their operations in Issawiya over the past several months and employed excessive force against residents, undermining stability and stoking tensions in the neighborhood.

Police officials, however, have pushed back against the charges, asserting that the heightened operations in Issawiya directly correlate with what they describe as increased violence emanating from the neighborhood.

Residents of Issawiya protest against police violence at the entrance to the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya, November 5, 2019 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Since May, police have raided over 500 homes in Issawiya and arrested more than 600 residents — only about 20 of whom were indicted, Mohammed Abu Hummus, a member of the neighborhood’s Parents Committee, said in an interview earlier this year

Locals, meanwhile, have lately stepped up violence against police officers, according to Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

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