Security Guard Shoots Palestinian Teen in Family Vineyard

A 15-year-old boy was shot to death Friday evening by a civilian security guard securing the separation fence near the village of Beit Lakiya, near Highway 443.

Palestinian sources said that Mahyoub al-Asi was shot by the guard, whom he knew, from a distance while tending his family's vineyard several hundred meters away.

Al-Asi's cousins, Jamal, 14, and Uday, 15, were killed by Israel Defense Forces fire nearby a few months ago. His brother was also killed by a mine explosion near the village several years ago.

According to villagers and official Israeli sources, there had been no demonstration or clash with the guards at the time of the incident. A local ambulance managed to get him to the clinic in the village of Bidu, en route to the hospital in Ramallah, but he died of his wounds.

At least one other Palestinian boy, 12-year-old Zahi Mafarjeh, saw the incident from several hundred meters away. Mafarjeh told a researcher for the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem yesterday that no other boys had been present and there had been no demonstration.

He told Haaretz yesterday evening, "Mahyoub passed by me and said he was going to his family's vineyard. I saw him getting farther away and after a few minutes I heard a single shot. I looked at the hill opposite and saw that Mahyoub, who was in the allotment, began running toward the village but after a few steps, he fell. Then I saw the guard coming out of the guard shed near the fence and drive to the allotment. He reached Mahyoub and knelt over him and then used a colored flag to signal his location to the troops near the fence. A few minutes later, he saw an ambulance arriving from the village and left the scene."

According to testimony by the ambulance crew, Asi was shot while in the fenced family allotment located 200 meters from the bulldozer parking lot being guarded.

Mafarjeh, who knows the guards well, said Asi was shot by a Bedouin guard known to the boys as "Farid."

The shooter was detained for questioning and then released to house arrest.