A 13-year-old Palestinian boy was shot dead by Israeli forces in a village near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah late on Thursday, according to media reports. The incident reportedly occurred during ongoing clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian protesters in the region.
According to local media reports, Bahaa Badr, 13, was shot in the chest after Israeli forces entered the village of Beit Liqya, about 17 miles west of Ramallah. A spokesperson for the Israeli military reportedly said that the soldiers had been forced to fire at the boy when he threw a firebomb at them. Israeli forces “encountered an illegal riot in Beit Liqya,” the unnamed spokesperson told Ma’an News Agency, a Palestinian publication, adding that the “rioters” had hurled Molotov cocktails at the soldiers.
“They responded to the threat with live fire,” she reportedly said. “Reports of a dead Palestinian are being reviewed. There will be military police investigation.”
Frequent clashes have been reported in the past from towns and villages near East Jerusalem, which houses the Al-Aqsa mosque -- the third holiest site in Islam -- and the Temple Mount -- the holiest site in Judaism. Since both Israelis and Palestinians stake their claim over the region, it has been one of the major focal points of conflicts between the two.
Tensions in the region have also run rife since the beginning of a recently concluded 50-day war in the Gaza Strip, in which more than 2,100 Palestinians and over 70 Israelis were killed.
The latest clashes in the West Bank began on Monday after Israeli forces attempted to bar the entry of Palestinian worshippers below the age of 50 years, according to an Al Jazeera report. Protesters also alleged that Jewish worshippers were being given unimpeded access to the site to celebrate the festival of Sukkot. On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had denied the allegations and blamed “Palestinian extremists” for instigating violence.