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Israeli forces shoot, injure 13-year-old Palestinian in Jerusalem

April 2, 2016 8:47 P.M. (Updated: April 3, 2016 4:56 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) – Israeli forces shot a Palestinian teen in the back of the head with a rubber-coated steel bullet while he was walking to school in the Silwan neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem on Saturday morning, his family told Ma’an.

Yasin Abu Mayyala said his son Hatim, 13, was taken from the Ras al-Amoud area in Silwan where he was shot to Hadassah Hospital in the West Jerusalem neighborhood of Ein Kerem, where medics said he suffered from a deep wound that required stitches.

The boy was suffering from nausea and vomiting, Abu Mayyala said.

Abu Mayyala told Ma’an that Hatim left home with his brother Ahmed and as they stepped out of the bus, each went in a different direction due to clashes in the area between Palestinians and Israeli forces.

“While Hatim was looking for Ahmed, Israeli forces fired a rubber-coated bullet at his head, causing severe bleeding and a deep wound,” he added.

Hatim told his father that despite his wounds, he was attacked and beaten violently by six Israeli officers before they detained him. An ambulance later arrived and evacuated him.

Abu Mayyala said that his son’s school notified him that Hatim was detained.

When he arrived he saw an ambulance, and Israeli forces told him his son had been hit.

Israeli forces reportedly decided to halt the detention process on the condition that his family bring Hatim to an Israeli interrogation center for questioning after he leaves the hospital, according to his father.

An Israeli border police spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.

Israeli forces often clash with Palestinian youths commuting to school in the Silwan neighborhood, which is near the heavily guarded Old City of occupied East Jerusalem.

Parents have reported that the presence of Israeli forces stationed in the neighborhood causes psychological trauma to their children. Parents are also fearful of their children being shot or injured.

In a report published in March, Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCIP) said it had documented at least eight cases where children had received serious injuries in their upper bodies due to Israeli forces' "misuse" of the weapon since a wave of unrest erupted last October.

According to the report, Israeli military regulations say that Israeli forces may only fire rubber-coated steel bullets at the legs, and never at women or children.

"While Israeli military regulations restrict the parameters and manner of their use, the excessive and improper use of crowd control weapons can lead to permanent disability or even death, particularly in children."

According to rights group B’Tselem, rubber-coated steel bullets have been prohibited within Israel’s borders since the 2000 Orr Commission, when Israeli police began using 40mm-caliber sponge rounds as a crowd control method in East Jerusalem.

DCIP cited UN figures, which say that between October and January, Israeli forces injured at least 2,177 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

UN rights monitor to the occupied Palestinian territory Makarim Wibisono recently condemned excessive use of force used by Israeli military forces and urged the Israeli authorities to comply with international law regarding the use of force and firearms.

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