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Palestinian teen succumbs to wounds weeks after being shot by Israeli forces

April 10, 2017 6:35 P.M. (Updated: April 11, 2017 5:14 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Palestinian teenager Jassem Muhammad Nakhla, who was shot and grievously injured by Israeli forces near the al-Jalazun refugee camp in the central occupied West Bank in March, succumbed to his wounds on Monday, the Palestinian Ministry of Health reported.

Nakhla, whose family said was 17 years old contrary to earlier reports, died in an Israeli hospital in Tel Aviv after Israeli forces shot him in the head and foot on March 23 when he was in a vehicle with three other young Palestinians.

One of the other youths, 17-year-old Muhammad Mahmoud Ibrahim al-Hattab, died that day, while the two others, Muhammad Hattab, 18, and Muhammad Moussa Nakhla, 18, were also seriously wounded.

Medical sources told Ma’an on Monday that Nakhla had been clinically dead since he was injured, and had been kept on life support since.

Both Jassem and Muhammad Nakhla were transferred for treatment in Israel on March 28 in an attempt to save their lives, while Hattab remained at the Palestine Medical Complex in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.

A spokesperson for the Ichilov Medical Center, where the two youths were initially taken, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Jassem Nakhla's death and Muhammad Nakhla's health condition.

The circumstances of the shooting have been highly contested, as local sources told Ma'an at the time of the deadly shooting that Israeli soldiers in a military tower near the entrance of the camp, which is located adjacent to the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El, fired heavily towards the teens’ vehicle while they were inside.

An Israeli army spokesperson claimed at the time that the boys were throwing Molotov cocktails at the settlement, and that they were outside of their car when they were shot.

However, video and photographic footage taken by locals at the scene following the shooting showed the vehicle riddled with bullets, windows shattered, and blood staining the seats, casting doubt on the Israeli army’s narrative of the event.

When questioned by Ma’an in March about how the teens could have re-entered their car and driven away from the scene after being injured with multiple rounds of live fire to the head and chest, the Israeli army spokesperson said she could not comment.

The Israeli army did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday about Nakhla’s passing, nor about whether an Israeli investigation into the shooting had yielded any results.

Nakhla is the 18th Palestinian to be confirmed killed by Israeli forces this year, and marked the sixth time that Israeli forces fatally shot a Palestinian minor since the beginning of 2017.

In all four instances when Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian minor this year, the Israeli army claimed that the teenagers were throwing Molotov cocktails. However, the Israeli versions of events have been heavily contested, notably in the al-Jalazun case and in that of 17-year-old Qusay Hassan al-Umour in January, as video evidence and investigations led rights groups to brand al-Umour’s death an unlawful and unjustified killing.

In many cases, Israel’s version of events has been disputed by witnesses, activists, and rights groups who have denounced what they have termed a "shoot-to-kill" policy against Palestinians who did not constitute a threat at the time of their death, or who could have been subdued in a non-lethal manner -- amid a backdrop of impunity for Israelis who committed the killings.
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