Israeli occupation forces killed 11 Palestinian children in the first quarter of 2019, reported human rights NGO Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCIP).
The fatalities include two children shot dead during Great Return March protests on 30 March, as well as a volunteer medic killed in Bethlehem last week.
“Israeli forces are killing Palestinian children with live ammunition at alarming rates,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, the director of DCIP’s Accountability Programme.
UN investigators recently found that Israeli forces intentionally targeted child protestors in Gaza, conduct amounting to war crimes, yet the international community stands by as Palestinian children are killed with impunity. We need action.
According to DCIP, on Saturday 30 March, Israeli soldiers shot 16-year-old Bilal Najjar during protests near the perimeter fence of the occupied Gaza Strip; hit in the abdomen, Bilal died in hospital.
On the same day, 17-year-old Adham Nidal Sakr Amara was shot in the head with live ammunition.
DCIP’s investigation found that “Adham was likely struck with an exploding bullet”, citing “medical sources” who “stated that the object that struck Adham appeared to have detonated on the lower half of his face”.
Meanwhile, on 27 March, Israeli occupation forces shot and killed 17-year-old Sajed Abdul Hakim Helmi Mizher, a volunteer medic, during a raid in Dheisheh refugee camp.
“Sajed, who was a volunteer medic, was present on the scene assisting a team of other medics. Eyewitnesses confirmed that Sajed was wearing his orange medic vest at the time he was shot.”
DCIP noted that on 6 March and 22 February, Israeli forces killed two 14-year-old Palestinian boys.
Saif Al-Deen Imad Nasser Abu Zaid was killed by live ammunition on 6 March, while he participated in “night confusion” protests outside Gaza City.
“We started to burn tires and throw fireworks and sound bombs at the border,” an eyewitness DCIP interviewed said.
“There were a number of Israeli soldiers behind the sand hills east of the fence. We only saw their heads, and they were carrying night vision binoculars because it was dark. They were firing live bullets and tear gas canisters at us. They also fired flares.”
At about 9.30pm, Saif Al-Deen “was standing approximately 200 meters (656 feet) from the fence, when Israeli forces shot his forehead”. Saif “was carrying an image of a child who had been killed by Israeli forces some weeks earlier, the witness said.”