Palestinian Shot Dead by Israeli Army at 12-year-old's Funeral, Also Killed by Israeli Forces

Israeli forces clashed with Palestinian mourners and protesters at Mohammed al-Alami's funeral in the West Bank. 'They took my heart from me, they snatched it from me,' boy's father says

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12-year-old Mohammed al-Alami's funeral, Thursday.
12-year-old Mohammed al-Alami's funeral, Thursday.Credit: Emil Salman

A 20-year-old Palestinian man died hours after being shot on Thursday by Israeli forces during the funeral of 12-year-old Mohammed al-Alami, who was killed the day before, also by Israeli military gunfire.

Shawkat Awad.

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, Shawkat Awad sustained gunshot wounds to his abdomen and head as was taken in critical condition to a hospital in Hebron, where he succumbed to his wounds.

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He was reportedly hit in clashes that erupted between hundreds of Palestinian mourners and protesters, and Israeli troops in the town of Beit Ummar, near Hebron, where al-Alami's body was laid to rest.

Israeli soldiers at Beit Ummar on Thursday.

Palestinian protesters threw rocks and Israeli police fired stun grenades and rubber bullets. The Palestinian Red Crescent said that 12 people, including the man, were wounded by live gunfire, in addition to others who sustained injuries from rubber bullets and tear gas.

In a brief statement issued late Thursday, the Israeli military accused "hundreds of rioters" of violence. It also said it is "familiar with the claim" a Palestinian died, adding a probe into the shooting incident has been launched.

The car in which Mohammed al-Alami was killedCredit: Hisham Abu Shakra

Al-Alami's father, Muayed, lamented: "For seven years we tried to have children, until Mohammed arrived. They took my heart from me, they snatched it from me."

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, al-Alami was shot in the chest by live ammunition from the Israeli military at the entrance of Beit Ummar while sitting in a car. He was subsequently rushed to hospital in Hebron and was later declared dead.

The father told Haaretz that Mohammed's nine-year-old brother and sister were also in the car at the time of the shooting and that when Mohammed was shot, he fell into his sister's lap.

Mohammed al-Alami.

Hundreds of residents from the town gathered at the family home before the funeral procession began. The main entrance to Beit Ummar was closed by the Israeli army, and security forces arrived in large numbers ahead of the funeral.

On Wednesday, the boy's uncle told Haaretz that Mohammed's father and two of his siblings were on their way home when they saw a military checkpoint in the entrance to Beit Ummar. After the father decided to turn around and go back, 13 bullets were shot at their car, one of which punctured al-Alami's chest.

The Israeli military said Wednesday that soldiers had identified suspects leaving a vehicle near a military outpost and digging a hole in the ground. In the hole, the soldiers found a dead baby wrapped in a plastic bag and suspected al-Alami's family car which was driving nearby. The soldiers tried to stop the vehicle while following the rules of engagement, which included calls to stop and the firing of warning shots into the air. According to the IDF, when the vehicle did not stop, one of the soldiers fired at one of the vehicle's wheels in order to stop the car.

On Thursday, the Israeli military said that it is still investigating the allegation that the boy was killed by the soldiers' fire.

With respect to the found remains, eyewitnesses from the town explained that on Wednesday a small burial ceremony was held where villagers bury babies, a plot outside the town's official cemetery. Soldiers then arrived at the scene, opened the grave and found the baby.

According to one witness, the car carrying Mohammed and his family arrived at the road leading to the plot shortly thereafter. When the car's occupants noticed the soldiers, they started driving backwards, then turned around and drove back to the road from which they had come. Then, according to the witness, three soldiers started firing in the direction of the car.

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