Palestinian Boy May Lose Eye After Being Shot by Police

Police say 10-year-old was hit near entrance to Shoafat refugee camp after stones were thrown at Border Police.

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
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Zakariya Julani lost an eye in April, apparently after Border Policemen fired a sponge-tipped bullet at him. A 10-year-old boy also from Shoafat was hit on May 21, 2015.
Zakariya Julani lost an eye in April, apparently after Border Policemen fired a sponge-tipped bullet at him. A 10-year-old boy also from Shoafat was hit on May 21, 2015.Credit: Emil Salman
Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

A 10-year-old Palestinian could lose his eye after police fired a sponge-tipped bullet at him near the entrance to the Shoafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem on Thursday afternoon.

Yahya al-Amudi was evacuated to Hadassah University Hospital with what were described as moderate injuries. However, doctors said his eye and one ear are at risk. They operated on him on Thursday night.

This is the second time in two months a Palestinian boy has been hit in the face with a sponge-tipped bullet.

According to police, the incident began when Palestinians threw rocks at a group of Border Policemen who were guarding construction workers widening a road near the Shoafat checkpoint.

“Work is being done in the Shoafat refugee camp for the benefit of the residents, including adding another entry/exit lane,” police said in a statement. “A few dozen young men, adults and minors, gathered and began throwing stones at the Border Policemen guarding the work, and use was made of riot dispersal equipment.”

Over the last year there have been numerous reports of injuries, some of them serious, caused by sponge-tipped bullets. An investigative report by Haaretz revealed that police have begun using a new type of sponge-tipped bullet, which causes more damage than the old version. In one case last September, it apparently even caused the death of a 16-year-old boy, Mohammed Sunuqrut.

Last month, Zakariya Julani, 13, also from the Shoafat refugee camp, lost an eye, apparently after Border Policemen fired a sponge-tipped bullet at him. His friends said there was no stone-throwing or rioting in the area at the time.

According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, 1,003 people were injured by sponge-tipped bullets in East Jerusalem in the second half of 2014, of whom 144 needed hospital treatment. At least 47 of the victims were hit in the upper body, in complete violation of the rules for using sponge-tipped bullets. The statistics were included in a letter that ACRI sent the police commissioner and attorney general earlier yesterday, before Amudi was injured.

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