Israel used 3 Palestinian teenagers as human shields in raid

Some of the soldiers fired gun shots from rifles placed on the Palestinian boys’ shoulders [Getty/file photo]

Israeli soldiers used at least three Palestinian children as human shields during violent raids in the occupied West Bank city of Tulkarm, earlier this month, according to a report.

The Defense for Children International (DCI) said Palestinian minors said Israeli soldiers forced three Palestinian children to walk in front of them in the the alleyways of the Tulkarm camp as they raided Palestinian homes and expelled residents.

In two separate cases, Israeli soldiers allegedly placed their rifles on the shoulders of two children and subsequently fired shots, the report said.

One boy, 13-year-old Karim, described how around 30 Israeli soldiers stormed his family’s apartment on the morning of 6 May, detaining them in one room before forcing the teenager to lead them through the home into other rooms.

“They took him to the stairs of the building, and they were accompanied by a huge police dog. While they were walking, one of the soldiers put his rifle on the child’s right shoulder and fired two bullets at one of the building’s apartments,” DCI stated.

Karim said he was “crying and shaking from fear” during the ordeal.

“Whenever I begged the soldiers, they would scream at me and ask me to be silent.”

Karim also added that the Israeli soldiers assaulted him during the ordeal. “They beat me on my lower extremities and my back for about five minutes, and they were telling me that I was a terrorist,” he said.

Another child, 12-year-old Mohammed, said that Israeli soldiers separated him from his family when they stormed his apartment.

Soon after, the child was forced to knock on neighbours’ front doors, asking them to leave. Mohammed said he “cried out fear, terror and pain” and even begged the soldiers to let him go, but to no avail.

One soldier put a rifle on Mohammed’s shoulder and fired several bullets at the roof from the building’s staircase, he recounted. 

Fourteen-year-old Ibrahim recounted a similar experience, saying that his family home was raided on Monday morning, before being taken to a room where he was threatened with assault, with soldiers shouting at him in Arabic, the rights organisation said.

Ibrahim was then handcuffed and forced to walk in front of the soldiers in the Al-Sawalma neighbourhood of Tulkarm’s camp. Ibrahim said he was “trembling with fear” throughout the incident, fearing he would be arrested.

DCI stressed that “detaining children as human shields is considered a war crime committed by the Israeli army”.

Since 2000, Israeli soldiers have used 34 children as human shields in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, they added.

Israeli forces carried out violent raids in Deir Al-Ghusoun in the Tulkarm area at the beginning of the month, amid intensified incursions in the West Bank in the backdrop of Israel’s deadly war in Gaza, which has killed at least 35,000 Palestinians.

On 4 May, the military killed five Palestinian men as they demolished a home which they encircled, with a sixth body discovered under rubble later.

Nearly 500 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank since the war in Gaza started on 7 October, while over 8,000 have been detained since the outbreak of the war in the besieged enclave.

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