Israeli Army Opens Investigation Into Fatal Shooting of Palestinian Teen

Initial army probe said teen was mistakenly shot at by IDF forces on Route 443; investigation to focus on whether soldiers opened fire according to protocol.

Mohammed Rafat Baderan, 15, was shot and killed by IDF forces along Route 443. June 21, 2016.

The Israel Defense Forces will open an official investigation into Tuesday's fatal shooting of a Palestinian teen on a key West Bank road that straddles the border with Jerusalem and is often a scene of violence.

Mahmoud Rafat Baderan, 15, was shot early on Tuesday by IDF forces on Route 443 while traveling with family and, according to a preliminary army investigation, was not involved in any stone throwing on the highway, where three people were wounded earlier due to stone and firebomb throwing.

The scene of the stone-throwing incident near Israel's Route 443, June 21, 2016.
IDF Spokesperson's Unit

According to the army, the soldiers involved in shooting the teen were from the Kfir Brigade and the military's police investigation unit's probe will focus on two questions: whether the soldiers opened fire according to protocol and if the forces felt a clear and immediate threat from the family car.

According to the army's open-fire regulations, which were revamped earlier this year, soldiers should not fire at a Palestinian assailant fleeing after an attack unless the suspect poses an immediate threat.

The decision to investigate the incident is the result of army policy to probe any lethal shooting that is not a result of direct combat.

The Palestinian Authority called the shooting a "cold blooded assassination" and said it reaffirms "calls to the UN to initiate an immediate extensive investigation into Israeli extrajudicial killings of Palestinians; particularly children."

Stones and firebombs

The scene of the stone-throwing incident near Israel's Route 443.
IDF Spokesperson's Unit

At around 1 A.M. on Tuesday a firebomb and rocks were thrown and oil was spilled onto the highway which runs between Jerusalem and Modi'in. An Israeli bus passenger and two tourists in another vehicle were injured in the incident which occurred near the village of Beit Sira.

An officer and group of soldiers from the Kfir Brigade responding to the incident spotted the injured people, chased after the stone throwers and fired accidentally at a car, killing the Palestinian teen, army investigators found.

The IDF said that a group of Palestinians tried to disrupt traffic by throwing rocks and firebombs at passing cars, significantly damaging a vehicle and wounding three passengers. Two suspects were arrested.

The IDF spokesperson's office said that "in the course of gunfire to remove a threat, uninvolved people near the scene of the incident were accidentally hit."

The Palestinian Authority has identified the slain teen as Badran, from the village of Beit-Uhr-Eh-Tahta, west of Ramallah. Three other Palestinians wounded in the incident were treated at a medical center in Ramallah, and a fourth wounded person was taken to Israel for treatment. Sources in the village said two of the wounded are brothers.

Badran's father said his son had gone to a swimming pool in Beit Sira with cousins and another relative visiting from Qatar.

"They left in the evening after breaking the fast, and stayed at the pool until after midnight. My sister rented a car to take them home, so they were in two vehicles heading back to Beit-Ur-Eh-Tahta," Badran said.

Badran said that in order to reach the village you have to take an underpass beneath Highway 443.

"As they approached the passage, a car stood on the bridge, next to a man with a gun who opened fire on the vehicle. As far as I could understand, some of the passengers jumped out of the vehicle and some remained inside, and were hit, including my son who was very seriously wounded and died a short time later."

"This was indiscriminate gunfire with the intent to kill and I demand that this incident be judged by the the International Court of Justice," Badran said.