A six-year-old Palestinian boy was shot in his stomach near the West Bank city of Qalqilya on Saturday. According to an Israeli investigation, the boy was playing with a gun when it misfired, injuring him.
Preliminary Palestinian reports said the boy was shot by an Israeli settler who drove by the village and fled after the shooting, but Palestinian sources said the family may have lied to protect the boy's older brother, who was present at the incident, and in order to be recognized as victims of settler terrorism by the Palestinian Authority and receive a stipend.
The Israeli military vehemently denied any Israeli involvement in the incident, and detained the older brother for interrogation.
According to Bian Al-Tabib, the boy's father, 6-year-old Youssef was with his 18-year-old brother alongside the main road from their village of Izbet Tabib when the incident happened. He said the older brother told him that the young boy suddenly fell to the ground, bleeding profusely. When he looked up, he told him he saw a car with Israeli license plates speeding away. However, the father noted that there were no other witnesses to the event.
The senior brother then called local rescue forces that the boy to a Palestinian hospital in serious condition, suffering from a single bullet wound to the abdomen. The child is currently in stable but still serious condition, and is on life support.
A military source who spoke to Haaretz said the incident was a result of "children playing with a gun." The source blasted the claim that an Israeli settler was behind the shooting as "blatant lies, of the kind that endanger the stability."
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