A Palestinian toddler mistakenly shot by Israeli troops in the West Bank last week succumbed to his wounds at an Israeli hospital on Monday, medical officials said.
Two-and-a-half-year-old Mohammed Tamimi and his father were hit by gunshots as Israeli soldiers returned fire at Palestinian gunmen who had shot toward them at the settlement of Neve Tzuf on Thursday.
The father, Haitham Tamimi, was taken by Palestinian medics to a hospital in Ramallah, and the toddler was rushed to Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan by a military helicopter in critical condition.
The boy’s death was initially reported in Palestinian media and later confirmed by the hospital.
The Israel Defense Forces said in a statement after the shooting that the pair was likely hit by mistake, adding that it “regrets harm to [noncombatants] and works to prevent such incidents.”
In response to a query by The Times of Israel on Monday, the IDF said: “The incident is being investigated in depth. At the end of the inquiry and taking into account its findings, a decision will be made regarding the opening of a probe.”
The army’s preliminary investigation has not yet been completed. An inquiry into troops’ conduct has not yet been submitted to the Military Prosecutor’s Office for review.
An initial report immediately following Thursday’s shooting had suggested the father and boy were likely hit by Palestinian fire when the gunmen shot at an Israeli military post near the settlement.
The IDF said that following a preliminary investigation, it appeared that two Palestinian gunmen had opened fire on the West Bank settlement of Neve Tzuf (also known as Halamish), near the Palestinian town of Nabi Saleh, and that troops stationed at the adjacent army post on Route 465 had returned fire.
Moments after the exchange, a Palestinian man and his child appeared at the entrance to Neve Tzuf with serious injuries to seek medical help.
It appeared that “as a result of the gunfire by the [Israeli] forces, two Palestinians were hurt,” the military said in a statement. A probe into the incident was underway, it added.
The suspected gunmen have yet to be caught.
Palestinian gunmen have repeatedly targeted troops carrying out arrest raids, military posts, Israeli settlements and civilians on roads.
Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have been elevated for the past year, with the military carrying out near-nightly raids in the West Bank in the wake of a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks.
The string of Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank has killed 20 people since the start of this year and left several more seriously hurt.
At least 115 West Bank Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the year — most of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, but some were uninvolved civilians or were killed under circumstances that are being investigated.