Rights groups condemn IDF killing of Palestinian teen identified as medic
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Rights groups condemn IDF killing of Palestinian teen identified as medic

PA blasts overnight shooting of 17-year old Sajid Muzher as a ‘war crime’; military says soldiers were responding to riot

A member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror group kisses the head of Sajid Muzher, 17, after he was reported killed by Israeli fire during clashes in the Dheisheh refugee camp near the West Bank city  of Bethlehem, during his funeral on March 27, 2019. (Musa Al Shaer/AFP)
A member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror group kisses the head of Sajid Muzher, 17, after he was reported killed by Israeli fire during clashes in the Dheisheh refugee camp near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, during his funeral on March 27, 2019. (Musa Al Shaer/AFP)

The Palestinian Authority said a Palestinian teenager who was killed during clashes in the West Bank overnight was volunteering as a medic when he was shot by Israeli troops, prompting strong rebukes from rights groups.

Sajid Muzher, 17, was killed in the Dheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem in the central West Bank, the PA’s health ministry said.

He was shot by Israeli forces while volunteering as a medic, a ministry spokesman told AFP.

The Israeli army did not comment on the death but said troops were responding to a “violent riot.”

In a statement, PA Health Minister Jawad Awad said the “occupation’s killing of a volunteer medic by shooting him in the stomach is a war crime.”

The Palestinian Medical Relief Society confirmed he was working with them, saying in a statement he was shot while trying to treat a person wounded in clashes.

Illustrative: Palestinians hurl rocks at Israeli troops during a protest on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Ramallah on March 27, 2019. (Abbas Momani/AFP)

The World Health Organization “strongly condemned” the killing in a statement, saying the man was killed while providing care to the injured.

“We are saddened by this tragic loss. Health workers provide critical care and save lives. Their protection must be ensured,” said Gerald Rockenschaub, head of the WHO office for the West Bank and Gaza.

Omar Shakir, Human Rights Watch country director, told AFP that, if confirmed, the death “would mark at least the fourth clearly identifiable Palestinian medic gunned down by Israeli forces in the last year.”

“Routine unlawful killings by Israeli forces and full impunity in Israel highlight the need for the International Criminal Court to open a formal probe into serious crimes committed in Palestine,” he said.

At his funeral, Muzher was pictured wearing a headband of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror organization, while those in attendance waved the group’s flag.

Illustrative: IDF forces operating in the Dheisheh refugee camp, in a photo released on July 23, 2018. (IDF Spokesperson)

Israeli forces frequently enter West Bank refugee camps to carry out arrests or other operations, often sparking clashes with residents.

The army released a video showing a man put down his jacket and hurl stones at soldiers. But, contacted by AFP, the military could not confirm it was the medic.

In an earlier statement, the army said that during “operational activity in Dheisheh refugee camp, southwest of Bethlehem, a violent riot was instigated.”

“Dozens of rioters hurled blocks and firebombs at the troops, who responded with riot dispersal means.”

It said it had received a report regarding an injured Palestinian, without further details.

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