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18-year-old Palestinian killed during Israeli raid in al-Duheisha refugee camp

July 14, 2017 9:26 A.M. (Updated: July 16, 2017 3:10 P.M.)
Baraa Hamamda
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- An 18-year-old Palestinian was killed by Israeli forces during a detention raid in the al-Duheisha refugee camp in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem on Friday morning.

The Palestinian Red Crescent told Ma’an that the teenager succumbed in the hospital to wounds sustained in his upper body, after Israeli forces raided the refugee camp seeking to detain two residents.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health identified the slain youth as Baraa Hamamda.

Locals told Ma’an that Israeli forces detained Muhammad Ubeid and Muath Abu Nassar during the raid, adding that they then fired live bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at al-Duheisha residents.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an that during a detention raid in al-Duheisha, Palestinians threw "explosive devices and blocks" at Israeli forces, who fired towards the youth.

They added that the army was "examining... reports of a casualty."

Despite stating that the army had raided al-Duheisha to carry out detentions, the spokesperson said they did not have immediate information about the two detentions in the refugee camp, only confirming the reports on Friday afternoon.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) released a statement mourning the death of Hamamda, who was reportedly affiliated to the leftist faction. 

"Today, Bethlehem and Dheisheh lose a brave hero who, despite his young age, disturbed the rest of the occupation as he clashed with occupation forces at the entrances to the city of Bethlehem and during multiple invasions of al-Duheisha camp. The occupation sought him for arrest more than once and he was injured on several occasions by occupation forces."

The group denounced Israeli forces for conducting a "criminal campaign of attacks and arrests against the cadres of the Popular Front in al-Duheisha camp, the village of Deir Abu Mashaal, and elsewhere in the occupied West Bank amid continuous targeting of its leaders." 

The statement said the campaign also came "when the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque are witnessing a bold and courageous operation targeting armed Israeli occupation forces." Three Palestinian citizens of Israel were shot dead within hours of Hamamda's killing for carrying out a shooting attack at the mosque that left two Israeli police officers killed.

The two incidents raised the toll of Palestinians killed by Israelis in 2017 to 43.

"This action confirms that the flame of resistance continues to burn and that the occupation’s policies of attacks, killings, arrests, home demolitions, land confiscation, and targeting of cadres will never quench that fire of resistance," the PFLP wrote.

According to Ma’an documentation, 18 of the Palestinians slain by Israeli forces this year were younger than 20 years old at the time of their deaths, and 14 were killed during army raids or clashes.

Two other young Palestinians -- 17-year-old Aws Muhammad Salameh and 20-year-old Saad Nasser Salah -- were killed by Israeli forces in similar circumstances during an overnight raid in Jenin refugee camp on Wednesday.

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

Israeli raids in Palestinian towns, villages, and refugee camps are a daily occurrence in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

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, rubber-coated steel bullets, and tear gas, often resulting in serious, sometimes fatal, injuries.
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