Local activist Muhammad Ayyad Awad told Ma'an that he saw the body of a young Palestinian on the ground
near the entrance of Beit Ummar. The young Palestinian, later identified as Khalid Bahr Ahmad Bahr, 15, was reportedly shot by Israeli forces in the back, with the bullet exiting through his chest.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an that soldiers were "attacked" by Palestinian youths throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers while they were patrolling the area near Beit Ummar. The spokesperson said one soldier was "lightly wounded' by a rock and called one of the young Palestinian suspects to "halt," fired warning shots in the air, and then "towards the suspect, resulting in his death."
The spokesperson added that the incident was "under investigation."
Awad also said that Israeli soldiers prevented a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance from approaching the youth, while witnesses said that Israeli forces refused to provide CPR to the youth after he was shot.
Israeli forces transferred Bahr's body to an unknown location. However, Awad later said that Israeli authorities had informed the mayor of Beit Ummar that Bahr's body would be returned on Friday after prayers for "investigations." If Awad's claim of the teen being shot in the back is upheld, it could cast doubts on the Israeli army's version of events that Israeli forces were responding to an "attack."
Hebrew media reported that another Palestinian youth was detained during the incident.
Bahr became the 235th Palestinian to be killed by Israeli soldiers and settlers since a wave of violence spread across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel in October 2015.
Rights groups have routinely condemned Israeli authorities for their use of excessive force against Palestinians, including minors, during incidents that did not warrant a violent response.
Israeli authorities have also dramatically escalated their crackdown on Palestinian youth who are caught throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers, detaining hundreds of Palestinians for alleged stone throwing every year. Israeli rights group B'Tselem reported that from 2005 to 2010, "93 percent of the minors convicted of stone throwing were given a prison sentence, its length ranging from a few days to 20 months."
However, Palestinians have claimed that rock throwing by teenagers represents a natural reaction to the frustrations caused by the nearly half century Israeli military occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which has been shaped by everyday forms of violence, such as nightly military raids into Palestinian communities, arbitrary detentions, home demolitions, and frequent killings of Palestinians by Israeli forces.