The scene was tense in the West Bank and Jerusalem Friday night after Israeli forces fatally shot a 14-year-old Palestinian-American boy in the head earlier in the day. Orwah Hammad is the second teenager killed by Israeli gunfire in the past eight days and the tenth Palestinian child gunned down by Israeli forces in the West Bank this year, an official from the Defense for Children International-Palestine told Mondoweiss.
Clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian protesters are ongoing and another 12 people have been wounded, according to the Times of Israel. Israeli officials told Reuters that soldiers opened fire to “prevent an attack” when they saw a man attempting to throw a Molotov cocktail. The Israeli Defense Forces said they would investigate the shooting.
Tensions have been rising in the West Bank and Jerusalem, as Palestinians fear they could lose control of the Al-Aqsa mosque. Earlier this month, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Israeli settlers should not be allowed in the mosque, which also houses the Temple Mount, the Times of Israel reported.
“Al-Aqsa is a red line. Israel must be aware that the ongoing raids and attacks on Al-Aqsa will cause a volcanic explosion in the area that will reach Israel,” Hamas senior leader Ismail Radwan said, according to the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency.
Hammad’s death is the latest in a series of attacks in the past few weeks. Just over a week ago, the IDF fatally shot a 13-year-old Palestinian boy during clashes with protesters. On Wednesday, a Palestinian man drove his car into a group of pedestrians in Jerusalem, killing a baby and wounding eight other people. That attack was quickly followed by the death of a five-year-old Palestinian girl when an Israeli driver ran her over. Israeli investigators said her death was an accident.
Revenge-style attacks between Israelis and Palestinians have been ongoing since June of this year when the IDF accused Hamas of kidnapping and killing three teenage Israeli boys. Their deaths prompted a 50-day war between the two groups and a ground invasion by the IDF into the Gaza Strip.
The war left more than 2,100 Palestinians (nearly 500 of them children) and over 70 Israelis dead. Hundreds more were wounded and tens of thousands of Gazans are still displaced after their homes were destroyed by IDF airstrikes.