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Palestinian Teenager Is Fatally Shot While Protesting Deadly Arson Attack

Laith al-Khaldi who was shot of Friday during a demonstration near Ramallah, died on Saturday.
August 1, 2015

RAMALLAH, West Bank — A teenager who was shot while protesting the arson attack that killed a Palestinian toddler died from his wounds early Saturday, according to family members and residents. It was the sixth fatal shooting by Israeli security forces in recent weeks, and the latest death in a summer that has been marked by repeated and apparently escalating violence.

The teenager, Laith al-Khaldi, 17, was shot Friday during a demonstration near Ramallah, one of many protests in response to the arson that appeared to quickly devolve into clashes. Jewish extremists are suspected in the firebombing of a house Friday morning in the West Bank hamlet of Duma, which killed an 18-month-old boy, Ali Dawabsheh, and severely wounded his parents and his brother.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said that soldiers had fired toward an “assailant” who had hurled a firebomb toward them. The spokeswoman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in accordance with military guidelines, said the shooting had been “in response to immediate danger.”

Palestinians said the teenager had been at a demonstration near the town of Birzeit, near a military watchtower. It appeared that youths there had been hurling objects at military forces. A cousin of Mr. Khaldi, Issa al-Khaldi, described the teenager as quiet and said that it was unlikely that he had thrown anything at the soldiers.

On Saturday, hundreds of Palestinians clashed with Israeli forces on the main road near Duma. The soldiers fired tear gas at the demonstrators, and youths hurled rocks and projectiles in response, witnesses said. Later, Israeli forces fired rubber bullets and live rounds at the protesters.

An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed that about 200 protesters near Duma hurled rocks and rolled burning tires at Israeli forces, who closed the main road and three junctions in the area.

Israeli forces have come under scrutiny for their use of live ammunition against Palestinians, but very few such shootings have led to prosecutions. Palestinians and their advocates say that has created a culture of impunity among Israeli forces.

On Friday, soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian teenager in Gaza who appeared to have been trying to scale a fence into Israel. Last Monday, a Palestinian youth died after he was shot while trying to evade arrest by running across rooftops in the crowded refugee camp where he lived.

Earlier in July, Israeli forces killed a 53-year-old Palestinian man, Falah Abu Marya, who was shot in the chest as he threw objects at soldiers who were trying to arrest his son. The day before, Israeli military forces shot and killed a 20-year-old Palestinian during a raid in Burqin, a farming town in the northern West Bank. A military spokeswoman said Israeli forces had opened fire after Palestinians ignored an order to stop throwing rocks at them.

Israeli and Palestinian politicians called the arson in Duma a terrorist attack. Hebrew graffiti was found sprayed nearby, with “Revenge!” written on one wall next to a Star of David. Witnesses said they had seen two masked men watching nearby as the fire burned.

Members of the Dawabsheh family said the toddler’s father, Saad, 32; his mother, Riham, 27; and his brother, Ahmad, 4, were being treated for severe burns on Saturday morning in Israeli hospitals. Naser Dawabsheh, Mr. Dawabsheh’s brother, said that Riham Dawabsheh’s condition had worsened overnight.

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(via NY Times)