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Palestinian teen undergoes leg amputation 'after being hit by Israeli jeep'

Jan. 11, 2017 11:53 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 11, 2017 10:56 P.M.)
Photo: Addameer
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- A 16-year-old Palestinian detainee has had to undergo a below-the-knee amputation due to a severe injuries he sustained after an Israeli jeep hit him at an Israeli military checkpoint in the northern occupied West Bank district of Jenin last week, according to Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer.

Addameer wrote in a statement on Tuesday that an attorney representing Sharif Khanfar said the teen was with three of his friends riding a Vespa motorcycle when they were apprehended by Israeli forces for allegedly planning a vehicular attack on soldiers on Jan. 3, and were injured after an Israeli jeep hit them.

The statement contradicted reports from Israeli police at the time of the incident, which did not mention an Israeli vehicle being involved.

Initial reports from Israel media claimed the incident was a deliberate vehicular attack, but Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said later that it was an accident.

The accident occurred at a so-called "flying checkpoint" -- a non-temporary Israeli military checkpoint -- that had been set up between the city of Jenin and the al-Jalama checkpoint, which Palestinians use to cross into Israel from the northern occupied West Bank.

Al-Samri's initial statement said that one motorcycle “bumped into” Israeli soldiers who were on foot at a military checkpoint, while three other motorcycles involved in the incident “fled the scene.”

However, she issued a correction later saying only three motorcycles had been involved -- one carrying two Palestinians and another carrying one -- without elaborating details of how the accident itself occurred.

A second Palestinian was severely injured in the incident, and a third was lightly injured. Two Israeli soldiers were lightly injured under unclear circumstances, though al-Samri seemed to suggest, without saying explicitly, that they were on foot by neglecting to mention the involvement of a military jeep.

Al-Samri also did not mention in her statements that anyone was detained after the accident or accused with wrongdoing. An Israeli police spokesperson could not immediately be reached on Wednesday to confirm whether or not the teen was in fact being detained.

Israel's emergency medical service Magen David Adom (MDA) said they evacuated the two severely injured Palestinian motorcyclists to Israel's HaEmek hospital.

However, according to Addameer, Khanfar was being detained by Israeli authorities in the hospital, which is located in the Israeli city of Afula, north of the border with the occupied West Bank.

Addameer’s statement said Khanfar and his family members were "shocked" by the incident that resulted in the loss of a leg, and denied that he and his friends had intended to carry out an attack.

Since a wave of unrest began in October 2015-- largely marked by small-scale attacks by Palestinians targeting uniformed Israeli soldiers and police with knives or similar weapons -- a number of deliberate car ramming attacks have occurred.

However, Israeli authorities' version of events have been challenged in a number of incidents, with officials in some cases later admitting so-called "terror attacks" were actually traffic accidents.

Amid the unrest, Israel has come under widespread condemnation for implementing a “shoot-to-kill” policy against Palestinian committing or allegedly committing attacks. Among the more than 100 Palestinians to be killed by Israeli forces and settlers throughout 2016, 33 were minors aged 17 and younger, according to Ma’an documentation.

In addition to lethal shootings of Palestinian children committed by Israeli forces, Palestinian NGO BADIL has warned of an increasing trend of Israeli forces shooting Palestinian youth in a deliberate attempt to leave them crippled for life.

Rights groups have also widely documented the mistreatment, abuse, and torture of Palestinian minors in detention, and the harsh interrogation practices used to force their confessions.
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