Two Children Killed After Unexploded Shell Blows Up in Bedouin Village

Some Bedouin villages in the Negev are located near Israeli army firing zones, and at times residents come across unexploded ordnance

The scene where two boys aged 8 and 10 were killed after an unexploded shell they were playing with blew up, April 25, 2017.
Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Two Bedouin cousins, 8 and 10, were killed by an explosion on Tuesday in the unrecognized village of Abu Qwider, near Route 25 in the Negev. The police stated that the initial investigation by the bomb squad indicates the boys were playing with an unexploded shell that blew up.

“When we arrived, it was a difficult sight,” said Yasser Abu Regila, a senior medic with Magen David Adom. “We saw two children, aged about 8 and 10, lying unconscious with the worst kind of multi-organ damage. They showed no signs of life.” They were pronounced dead at the scene, he said.

Some of the villages in the Negev are in close proximity to Israel Defense Forces firing zones, and at times residents come across unexploded shells. So far, it is unclear if this happened in the incident involving the boys.

Mohammed Abu Qwider, a relative of the children, said that the police do come to the school from time to time and talk to the children, but there isn’t much awareness of the dangers of unexploded ordnance.

“There were other cases but they didn’t end this badly and people didn’t learn,” Abu Qwider said, adding, “They were great children. They loved riding their bicycles, playing soccer, going for walks near the house. They were taken so suddenly.”

Last month a three-year-old boy died after fire broke out in his house in Darijat, another village in the Negev. After suffering from smoke inhalation, the child was evacuated in serious condition to Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva, where he was pronounced dead. The week before a 19-yead-old from Rahat also died after a fire erupted in her house, and some weeks earlier, a one-and-a-half-year-old baby died in Tel Sheva. The fire was caused by a space heater placed too close to her mattress.