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Palestinian teen 'mistakenly' killed by Israeli soldier laid to rest

June 23, 2016 8:04 P.M. (Updated: June 26, 2016 6:28 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Fifteen-year-old Mahmoud Raafat Badran was laid to rest in his village of Beit Ur al-Tahta near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on Thursday.

Badran was shot dead by Israeli forces around midnight on Wednesday, after spending the evening at a swimming pool in the village of Beit Sira west of Ramallah with four other Palestinian boys, who were celebrating the recent arrival from Qatar of friends who were to spend the summer in their hometown of Beit Ur al-Tahta.

An Israeli soldier began showering the car with live fire, according to local sources, killing Badran and seriously injuring the four others in the car.

One of the injured, Dawood Issam Abu Hassan, 16, told Ma’an that they were “surprised by a man wearing black plain clothes who stepped out of a white Toyota and started to fire at them.”

Dawood said that he and another teenager in the car managed to run away from the vehicle after it was first hit, and hid under a bridge near the area to avoid more live fire.

Meanwhile, Mahmoud received deadly gunshot wounds, and two brothers were also seriously wounded in the incident. Two of the wounded were identified to Ma'an as Majdi Badran, 16, who was visiting from Qatar, and suffered from a chest injury; and Khaled Badran, who was in serious condition.

The parents of the boys who had recently arrived from Qatar told Ma’an they were traveling in a car behind the car their sons were in, and were forced to witness the incident unfold in front of them, calling the attack an “Israeli crime.”

Palestinian Red Crescent Society ambulances said Israeli soldiers prevented paramedics from reaching the wounded Palestinians for over an hour and a half.

The Israeli army admitted to “mistakenly” opening fire on innocent bystanders after Palestinian youth were reportedly throwing stones at Israeli settler vehicles in the area. Israeli media initially reported that Mahmoud and his friends traveling in the car were “terrorists.”

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an at the time of the incident that after a number of Palestinian youth had hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at moving Israeli settler vehicles on route 443 west of Ramallah, adding that "Israeli forces acted to protect additional vehicles from immediate danger and fired toward the suspects and bystanders were mistakenly hit."

Badran’s funeral procession -- in which Palestinian security forces, Ramallah Mayor Laila Ghannam, and a delegation from them ministry of interior all took part -- started from the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah where Badran was then taken in an ambulance to his hometown village of Beit Ur al-Tahta, followed by dozens of cars.

Hundreds of residents from Beit Ur al-Tahta and surrounding villages waited for Badran’s body at the entrance of village, and then marched behind the ambulance until he got to his family's home.

After his family said their goodbyes to him at the house, he was taken to the village's mosque where worshipers prayed for him, after which he was taken by thousands of mourners to the village's cemetery, where he was laid to rest.

Mahmoud is one of more than 220 Palestinians who have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers since a wave of political unrest swept the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel in October. While a number of Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli forces, the majority were shot dead after alleged attacks and attempted attacks against Israelis, with nearly 30 Israelis killed by Palestinians during the same period.

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