Mohammad Rezeq Salah Shehada

February 22, 2022: Mohammad Rezeq Salah Shehada, 14, was killed by Israeli soldiers in the Al-Khader town, south of Bethlehem, south of the occupied Jerusalem, in the West Bank.

Medical sources have confirmed that the soldiers shot the child with live rounds and prevented a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance from reaching him.

Local activist Ahmad Salah said the soldiers, including undercover officers, invaded the Bakoush area in the western part of Al-Khader, leading to protests by local Palestinians.

The army fired many live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs, and concussion grenades at the protesters, killing one and wounding several others.

A video from the scene shows the child on the ground with two soldiers near him after removing his clothes; one was standing near the child, and the other appeared to be listening if he had a heartbeat.

According to Israeli Ynet News, the Israeli army said in a statement that the soldiers spotted three Palestinians arriving in an area where they claimed that firebombs had been thrown at Israeli vehicles several times recently. The army alleged that the soldiers shot the child after throwing a Molotov cocktail.

It added that the soldiers “shot one of the suspects and provided treatment to him before he succumbed to his wounds.”

The child’s father said that he heard about his son being shot and ran towards him before the soldiers pointed their guns at him and threatened to shoot him.

“I told the soldiers I just need to know where my son is and whether he was wounded or dead,” he said, “I asked a soldier if my son was still among the living, and he only ordered me to leave or get shot and be thrown next to him…. that is when I knew they killed my child…”

“This is an army that has no mercy, no respect for human life, and its state continues to claim to care about human rights…”, the father added, “they continue to kill children and the elderly just as we have witnessed recently in Ramallah and Hebron…”

The child’s father denied the Israeli allegations describing them as pure lies and fabrications, especially since his child was receiving treatment for his arm and recently had X-rays done; therefore, the Israeli claims that the child hurled Molotov cocktails or even threw stones at the soldiers are lies, as his son doesn’t have a full motion in his armed to be able to do so.

The child’s killing caused more protests in the town, and the soldiers fired many live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs, and concussion grenades.

Contrary to the army’s claim, the child was shot in the town and not near the road where the army claimed that Palestinians had hurled the Molotov cocktails. Nevertheless, their invasion into Al-Khader resulted in protests.

After killing the child, an Israeli ambulance took his corpse to a hospital, and the army is still refusing to transfer it to his family for a proper burial ceremony.

The soldiers also shot at least one Palestinian with a rubber-coated steel bullet and caused dozens to suffer the effects of tear gas inhalation in the Nashash area in the western part of Al-Khader.

Palestinian factions and civil society institutions declared a one-day strike, including the closure of schools and stores, to mourn the slain child.

After his death, dozens of Palestinians marched in the town and chanted for ongoing resistance and steadfastness against the illegal Israeli occupation and unity among all Palestinian factions until liberation, sovereignty, and independence are achieved for the Palestinian people.

The Palestinian Education Ministry also issued a statement mourning the child and declaring the closure of schools in the town for one day.

The Ministry said the slain child was a seventh-grade student at a government-run school in Al-Khader.

Mohammad’s funeral procession was held on Wednesday evening in his town after the army transferred his corpse to his family.

Ayed Abu Eqtaish, the accountability Program Director at Defense for Children International – Palestine branch, said in a TV interview with Maan News Agency that the lack of accountability encourages Israel to continue killing Palestinian children with impunity.

Mohammad was from Al-Khader, south of Bethlehem, in the West Bank. Source: IMEMC