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Palestinian teen dies after being shot in heart by Israeli forces in al-Fawwar clashes

Aug. 16, 2016 5:59 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 17, 2016 12:33 P.M.)
A photo shared on social media shows Muhammad Abu Hashhash, 17, who was killed on Aug. 16, 2016 in the al-Fawwar refugee camp.
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian teenager died on Tuesday afternoon after being shot by Israeli forces with live ammunition earlier in the day during clashes in the al-Fawwar refugee camp in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said.

The ministry identified the slain youth as 17-year-old Muhammad Abu Hashhash.

Palestinian Red Crescent spokeswoman Errab Foqoha told Ma'an that Abu Hashhash succumbed to wounds sustained when he was "shot with live ammunition in the heart" by Israeli forces during clashes in al-Fawwar in which at least 32 other Palestinians were injured.

Israeli forces stormed al-Fawwar at dawn on Tuesday, ransacking homes and interrogating residents. Clashes then broke out between local youth and Israeli soldiers who fired live gunshots, tear gas, and rubber-coated steel bullets at the youth, injuring at least 33, including Abu Hashhash.

Earlier in the day, witnesses said Israeli soldiers stopped an ambulance belonging to the Palestinian Red Crescent which was trying to evacuate a young man who was seriously injured with live fire, and prevented the ambulance from leaving the camp for an hour.

Foqoha said she could not confirm whether the ambulance which was held up was carrying Abu Hashhash.

The teenager is one of 218 Palestinians to have been killed by Israelis since the beginning of a wave of unrest across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel in October. According to Ma'an documentation, at least 54 Palestinians were killed in clashes during this time period. While the majority of deadly clashes have occurred in refugee camps in the occupied Palestinian territory, this is the first reported death of an al-Fawwar resident since October.

The Hebron area in particular grew as the epicenter of upheaval, with Israeli authorities severely restricting the movement of Palestinians by sealing off towns and revoking work permits. At least 64 Palestinians from the Hebron district have been killed since October.

Some 32 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians during the same time period.

Due to the typically aggressive nature of the raids, clashes often erupt between local Palestinian youth who throw stones and are met in response with live fire and tear gas, often resulting in serious, sometimes fatal injuries.

Israeli police and soldiers have come under heavy criticism over the past year for what rights groups have referred to as “extrajudicial executions” of Palestinians who did not pose an immediate threat or who could have been detained through non-lethal means.

Israeli rights group Adalah revealed in July that Israeli police had unveiled new regulations which permit Israeli officers to open fire with live ammunition on Palestinian demonstrators before a non-lethal option is used.

An Israeli army spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the military's protocol on the use of live fire during clashes and demonstrations in the occupied West Bank.

The body of Muhammad Abu Hashhash after succumbing to wounds sustained during clashes in al-Fawwar refugee camp on Aug. 16, 2016.
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