Middle East

Palestinian youths killed in West Bank clashes

Relatives of Hudhayfa Salman mourn after his death in clashes with Israeli troops in Tulkarm (5 October 2015) Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The Israeli military said it was investigating the incidents in which the youths were killed

A Palestinian boy has been killed by Israeli forces near Bethlehem, Palestinian medics say, amid an upsurge in violence in the occupied West Bank.

The 13-year-old was reportedly shot in the chest during clashes at the Jewish shrine of Rachel's Tomb.

Earlier, an 18-year-old Palestinian man was killed at a protest in Tulkarm.

Separately, Israeli security forces said on Monday they had captured five alleged Hamas militants suspected of killing a Jewish couple last week.

The alleged militants were arrested on Friday, the day after the couple were killed in front of their children in the West Bank, Israeli security agency Shin Bet said.

A doctor at a hospital in Beit Jala said the 13-year-old killed near Bethlehem on Monday had been identified as Abdul Rahman Shadi, according to the Associated Press.

An Israeli military official said 15 protesters threw rocks at security forces guarding Rachel's Tomb, who "responded by riot dispersal means".


A violent week

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
  • Thursday: Jewish couple killed in front of their young children in the West Bank
  • Saturday: Palestinian man kills two Israelis and wounds several others in Jerusalem before being shot by police
  • Sunday: Palestinian man, 18, killed at a protest in West Bank after Israel bars Palestinian residents of Jerusalem from entering the Old City for two days
  • Monday: Israeli security forces kill Palestinian boy, 13, near Bethlehem after protesters allegedly throw rocks

The 18-year-old killed in Tulkarm, named by Palestinian media as Hudhayfa Salman, was shot in the chest during clashes with Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint on Sunday night.

The Israeli military said people taking part in a rally organised by the militant Islamist movement Hamas threw firebombs and rocks at its troops, and rolled burning tyres. The troops responded by firing live ammunition at three men, hitting one of them, it added.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Palestinian protesters threw stones at Israeli troops in the city of Bethlehem on Monday

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened an emergency meeting of his security chiefs on Sunday afternoon to discuss ways to tackle the violence.

In a television address on Monday, Mr Netanyahu said he would use an "iron fist" against attackers and "warned there are no limits on the activities of the security forces".

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Israeli troops responded with "riot dispersal means", including live ammunition

He had earlier said measures would include "fast-tracking the razing of terrorists' homes", broader use of detention without trial for suspects, increased security in Jerusalem and the West Bank, and banning those who incite violence from Jerusalem's Old City.

Violence has increased in recent weeks, with tensions rising over the al-Aqsa mosque and confrontations between Israeli security forces and Palestinian youths, says the BBC's Yolande Knell in Jerusalem.

The mosque is built in a compound in East Jerusalem known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) and to Jews as Temple Mount. The area is revered by both faiths.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned on Sunday of a "dangerous slide toward escalation". He said he was "deeply troubled" by statements from Palestinian militants, including Hamas, praising the deadly attacks on Israelis.

Islamic Jihad has said one of its members was responsible for the fatal stabbing in Jerusalem on Saturday of Israelis Aharon Benitah and Rabbi Nehemia Lavi.