Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Palestinians call for international investigation into Israeli killing of teenager

Palestinian Foreign Ministry has called for an international probe into the Israeli killing of a teenager in the occupied West Bank town of Sebastiya. More than 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israel since the start of 2023.

Fawzi Hani Makhalfeh, 18, was driving with his friend Mohammed Mukheimar when Israeli forces opened fire at their car at about midnight.

Mukheimar was injured and arrested by Israeli forces.

Ahmed Jibril, the director of ambulance and emergency services at the Red Crescent, said that Makhalfeh was hit by several bullets, one of them directly in the head, out of dozens of bullets fired by the Israeli soldiers.

In a statement, the Israeli army claimed that the two Palestinians tried to drive a car into soldiers, but Makhalfeh’s family said the two did not target soldiers but were ambushed while driving home, and that their car was riddled with bullets.

The mayor of Sebastia, Mohammad Azem, stated that he was one of the first to arrive at the scene. He described a scene of bloody carnage, with more than 50 bullet holes in the chassis.

“He was a university student,” Azem continued, adding, “It was just so brutal.”

In a statement issued on Saturday, the foreign ministry described Makhalfeh’s killing as an “execution” and called for “bringing the perpetrators and those behind them to justice”.

“The firing of a hail of bullets at the vehicle they were traveling in reflects the magnitude of hatred, aggression, racism, and premeditated killing, which makes every Palestinian vehicle suspicious to the occupation soldiers a target that can be shot at and killing whoever is inside it,” the ministry stressed.

It held the Israeli government fully responsible for what it described as “the heinous crime of execution” its soldiers have committed in Sebastia, calling for an international investigation into it.

Hundreds of people attended the funeral ceremony in Sebastia on Saturday. Makhalfeh’s father helped carry his son’s body which was covered with the Palestinian flag while his head was wrapped in a keffiyeh. He told local media his son was hoping to get married soon.

Makhalfeh had just passed his high school exams and was in good spirits before the shooting, according to local reports.

The shooting came hours after a 17-year-old Palestinian was killed by Israeli fire elsewhere in the occupied West Bank.

The killings are part of a year-long period of violence, marked by repeated Israeli raids on the occupied West Bank, which has shown no signs of abating.

According to reports, 202 Palestinians have been killed in the occupied territories this year alone, with 165 in the occupied West Bank.

Sebastia, northwest of Nablus, is home to an ancient archaeological site, which the Israeli military seeks to seize from the Palestinians and assume full control over it.

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