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Israeli fire kills Palestinian boy

March 20, 2010 4:32 P.M. (Updated: March 22, 2010 8:56 A.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli forces killed a Palestinian teenager in the northern West Bank on Saturday afternoon, medics said.

Medics said Muhammad Qadus, 16, was struck in the chest by a live bullet fired by Israeli forces amid violent clashes in Iraq Burin, a Palestinian village south of Nablus.

Qadus was transported to a local hospital by private car after Israeli forces held up a Red Crescent ambulance called to the scene, medics told Ma'an. The teenager was pronounced dead shortly after arriving, they added.

Another 16-year-old Palestinian boy, identified as Useid Abed An-Nasser Qadus, was seriously injured. Medics said he sustained a live bullet to the head and was transferred to a hospital for emergency surgery. Initial reports said he was struck in the stomach.

An Israeli military spokesman said "during a violent and illegal riot, dozens of Palestinians from Iraq Burin arrived in the area, inciting a provocation." According to the army, Israeli forces arrived at the scene to prevent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli civilians. Palestinians "violently hurled rocks at the force."

Soldiers responded with riot-dispersal means, which included the use of rubber bullets "in accordance with procedures, and identified hitting two Palestinians."

"Contrary to what was published, live fire was not used. The Palestinians were hurt by rubber bullets used during the incident. It should be noted that gas canisters were used prior to rubber bullets. Israeli officials have recently held extensive negotiations with figures from the area in order to prevent such a clash. The IDF will not allow the existence of violent and illegal riots that put human lives at risk."

The spokesman added: "the commander of the Shomron regional brigade, Itzik Bar, will investigate the event later today."

Participants in the protest disputed the army's version of events.

Qadus "was shot in the back, indicating he could not have been posing any threat to the soldiers who shot him," read a statement from the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee.

The committee said at least 15 international activists were attending a demonstration that involved an attempt to reach privately owned Palestinian land under the Jewish-only settlement.

"After about two hours, the Army retreated towards the settlement and demonstrators went back to the village," the statement said. "Shortly after, armored Border Police jeeps invaded the village, arrested three people and raided houses."

A few minutes later, live shots were fired at a small group of young men, some of whom were throwing stones, the committee added. "The shots resulted in one fatality and one critical injury to the head."

Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, said Israeli forces fired indiscriminately.

"Soldiers invaded this village of 1,100 people and started shooting randomly at civilians who were trying to defend their property against Israeli settlers, most from Yitzhar," Daghlas told Ma'an.

The PA official added that over 15 Israeli settlers from the illegal Bracha settlement, wearing white, descended upon the adjacent Burin village, but residents forced them out.
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