A 13-year-old Palestinian boy was shot and seriously wounded by Israeli soldiers last week near the West Bank separation barrier.
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The army said troops fired at Mohammed Qaddumi after he threw rocks and tried to cross into Israel. His family said the boy was only collecting firewood alongside the barrier adjacent to their home in the village of Jayus.
Qaddumi was admitted to Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba in very serious condition. The hospital said he underwent a long operation and that his condition has improved significantly.
According to the boy’s father, Qaddumi was shot in both legs and in one arm. “He was by the fence, the children were there, four children, and there were soldiers under the olive trees. They went up there by the fence, they could have grabbed him by the arm but they shot him three times,” said the father. The father said his son did not try to cross the barrier and did not try to throw stones at the soldiers, who were hidden from the children’s view.
The family said the army has initiated legal proceedings against Qaddumi, on suspicion of throwing rocks.
Israel’s Civil Administration prohibited Qaddumi’s family from entering Israel to be at their son’s side in the hospital, but reversed the decision after the hospital and the human-rights organizations Mahsom Watch and Physicians for Human Rights intervened.
In a written statement about the incident, the office of the Israel Defense Force spokesman said troops waiting in ambush fired at a Palestinian who vandalized the security fence and crossed to the other side. The Palestinian was treated at the scene and later evacuated to the hospital. The circumstances of the incident are under examination by the Military Advocate General Corps.
An army official initially said that Qaddumi was shot after he tried to cross the fence, and that he had participated in violent protests. The official later said Qaddumi had torn the border fence and had burned a tire.