5-year-old Boy From East Jerusalem Wounded in Face by Sponge-tipped Bullet, Residents Say

Police say no riot-dispersal means used in Isawiyah, where boy lives; locals say he was standing outside his house when he was hit.

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
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Sponge-tipped bullets.
Sponge-tipped bullets.Credit: Emil Salman
Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

A 5-year-old boy from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Isawiyah was wounded in the face by a sponge-tipped bullet while standing outside his home Wednesday, Isawiyah residents said.

Mohammed Jamal Obeid, 5, was taken to Jerusalem's Hadassah University Hospital, Mount Scopus, for treatment of the injury below his eye.

Jerusalem police, however, said they were not aware of police officers using riot-dispersal means such as sponge-tipped bullets in Isawiyah on Wednesday.

The hospital confirmed that the boy was admitted for treatment to his face after a bullet was fired, though it described the injury as being caused by a rubber bullet. The hospital said Obeid was in moderate condition and was headed for surgery.

Haaretz has previously reported that the Israel Police have been using foam-tipped bullets that are harder and more powerful than some other kinds of bullets, and poses a particular danger for children and teenagers.

Isawiyah residents said Obeid was standing outside his home while Israeli police officers clashed with children and teenagers throwing stones at vehicles on nearby Ma'aleh Adumim Road.

If the Isawiyah accounts are accurate, Obeid is the second child in the neighborhood to be wounded by foam-tipped bullets fired at the upper body, a practice explicitly prohibited by police regulations.

In September another East Jerusalem resident, Mohammed Sunuqrut, a 16-year-old boy from the Wadi Joz neighborhood, died of injuries that Israeli and Palestinian sources say could only have been caused by a plastic or sponge-tipped bullet.

Other Palestinians, as well as journalists such as Israeli photographer Tali Mayer, WAFA journalist Christine Rinawi and CNN correspondent Ben Wedeman, have also been injured by sponge-tipped bullets.

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