JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli troops shot and killed a 15-year-old Palestinian early Tuesday in the West Bank and wounded four others in what the army said appeared to be an accidental shooting.
The military said soldiers opened fire at a group of Palestinians who were hurling stones and firebombs at cars on a West Bank highway. But based on an initial inquiry, “it appears that uninvolved bystanders were mistakenly hit during the pursuit,” it said. Three Israeli civilians were hurt.
Palestinian officials said the teen, Mahmoud Badran, was killed when the car he was traveling in was hit by Israeli fire. Officials said four others were wounded, including two of Badran’s brothers.
Abdel Karim Qasim, the mayor of Beit Ur al-Tahta local council, said the teens had been at a late-night pool party celebrating the Ramadan holiday on a warm summer night. In all, seven people were in the vehicle, all of them in their teens and early 20s, and all related to one another.
Qasim said the vehicle was not on the main highway used by Israeli motorists, and he could not understand why it had been shot.
“There was no one suspicious in the car,” he said. “The area is open and full of security cameras. I doubt that anyone was throwing anything at the time.”
Palestinian official Saeb Erekat condemned what he called a “brutal attack.”
“The international community has the responsibility to stop allowing Israel’s impunity for the crimes it commits against the occupied land and people of Palestine,” he said.
Palestinian officials initially said the deceased was 14 years old, but later corrected themselves.
Over the past nine months, Palestinians have carried out dozens of attacks, including stabbings, shootings and car ramming assaults, which have killed 32 Israelis and two American tourists. About 200 Palestinians have been killed during that time. Israel has identified most of them as attackers while the rest died in clashes with Israeli troops.
The assaults were once near-daily incidents but have become less frequent in recent weeks.
Also Tuesday, the Israeli military demolished the home of a Palestinian who stabbed to death an American tourist and war veteran in an attack earlier this year.
The troops entered the West Bank village of Hajjah to knock down the residence of Bashar Masalha. In March, he killed Taylor Force and wounded 10 others in a stabbing attack on a Tel Aviv beachfront promenade.
Force was a Vanderbilt University graduate student visiting Israel on a school trip. He previously graduated from West Point and served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Masalha was killed by police after the attack.
Israel says it carries out housing demolitions to deter future attacks. The Palestinians consider it a form of collective punishment.
This story has been corrected to show that the mayor of Beit Ur al-Tahta is Abdel Karim Qasim. The official identified as the mayor in an earlier version of this story is the deputy mayor.