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Medics: Bethlehem youth shot dead with illegal ammunition

Dec. 8, 2015 7:35 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 9, 2015 2:09 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Malik Akram Shahin, 19, who was shot dead by Israeli forces in Bethlehem overnight Monday, was killed by an explosive bullet fired at his head, medical sources at the Beit Jala Governmental Hospital told Ma'an.

Medics said the explosive bullet smashed Shahin's skull, and exploded inside his head, with the bullet and skull fragments shattering into "hundreds of pieces."

The sources said the positioning of the shot, as well as the type of bullet used, clearly indicates that Israeli forces shot at Shahin with every intention to kill.

The use of explosive bullets, also called expanding bullets or "dum dum" bullets, is illegal under international law, and considered a crime of war under the 1899 Hague Declaration and the International Criminal Court's Rome Statute, among others.

The bullets are banned due to the brutal damage inflicted on the victim, as the bullets are made to splinter apart and become lodged, instead of making a clean exit through the body.

Israel has repeatedly denied claims that its forces use such bullets, though Palestinian medical examiners have on occasion documented their use.

Locals told Ma'an that after Shahin was shot, he was "left bleeding for a long time before he was evacuated to the public hospital in Beit Jala, where medics pronounced him dead."

An Israeli army spokesperson had no information of his death, but said that Israeli soldiers had opened fire after Palestinians threw "pipe bombs and Molotov cocktails" at them.

The left-wing Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine later said that Shahin had been one of its supporters. The group said in a statement that he fell "during fierce clashes with Israeli troops who raided the camp to detain young men affiliated to the PFLP."

Following his death, a Bethlehem committee announced a halt to all business across the district and stores and government institutions were closed.

At least 114 Palestinians have now been killed in just over two months of unrest across the occupied Palestinian territory.
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