Abbas Unloads on Israeli Military in Call With Dead Boy's Father

During the call, the Palestinian President vowed to punish those responsible for the death of Riad Suleiman, a 7-year-old boy killed during an Israeli raid in the West Bank. The U.S. has called for an 'immediate and thorough probe'

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, 2020.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, 2020.Credit: Alaa Badarneh / AP
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas offered harsh words to the Israeli military in a phone call with the father of Riad Suleiman, the 7-year-old Palestinian boy who died during an IDF raid of the village Teqoa in the West Bank, and promised to punish those responsible.

During the phone call, Abbas attacked the Israeli forces and said "they will pay for this." Abbas then wished the soldiers that "may Allah damn them, may Allah take them, even a 7-year-old boy isn't safe anymore, they will pay for what they did and may Allah help us get rid of them very soon." In response, the boy's father asked the Palestinian President to see it to it that those responsible are brought to justice, prompting Abbas to reply that "we will do everything we can, the boy was a son of all of us"

Abbas' phone call to Riad Suleiman's father on Friday night

Suleiman, a 7-year-old boy, died on Thursday during Israeli army activity in the West Bank town of Teqoa, according to Palestinians. Mohammed Suleiman, the boy's uncle, said Rian was at home with his parents and two brothers when soldiers loudly knocked on the door. He then became frightened and "suffered a heart attack" when soldiers came to arrest his brothers for stone-throwing.

A defense official told Haaretz that the soldiers arrived at the home to question the boy's parents about a stone-throwing incident that happened earlier in the day. The Palestinian Health Ministry had initially published a contradictory claim, saying the boy fell to his death while being chased by the Israeli army. The Palestinians added that Rian was taken to hospital in critical condition and pronounced dead soon after.

Rian Suleiman

The Israeli army is investigating the case. In a statement released later on Thursday, the army said "the claims about the minor's death are known. An initial investigation found no connection between his death and the activity of soldiers in the area." The boy's body was taken to the Abu Dis Forensic Medicine Institute a few hours later for additional examination. The U.S. has called for an "immediate and thorough probe" into the 7-year old's death.

"Rian's father opened the door and the soldiers entered. Then, there was a commotion and a lot of screaming," Mohammed Suleiman, the boy's uncle, told Haaretz. "Out of fear, [Rian] collapsed and had a heart attack. He was a completely healthy boy filled with happiness, and within minutes we lost him," he said.

An Israeli army source said that soldiers were chasing a group of kids who were throwing stones, when they lost sight of them. "Near one of the houses, the soldiers saw a father standing with his children and identified them as the kids who threw rocks, though it's unclear if they were the same kids. The army officer spoke to the father without the kids being present, and after he left the house the man began to yell, causing the officer to realize that the child is in danger. According to the officer, he did not know that the child was injured."

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