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'Standard Rules of Engagement': IDF Shoots Dead Unarmed Palestinian Boy

Israeli forces shot youth in the back as he ran away, say witnesses; Fourth border killing in less than one week

Jon Queally, staff writer

Relatives of Samir Awad mourn his death at a hospital in Ramallah, to where his body was taken after the shooting. (Photograph: Issam Rimawi/Zuma Press/Corbis)

An unarmed seventeen-year-old Palestinian boy was shot dead by Israeli security forces who claimed they only followed 'standard rules of engagement' on Tuesday.

Samir Awad was shot in "the head, back and chest," according to reports. Though Israel Defense Force officials did admit that live fire was used, they claimed soldiers were within their right to use lethal force against the boy.

Palestinian witnesses, however, claim that Awad was killed "in cold blood" as he tried to run away from the area near the separation wall in West Bank village of Budrus.

As The Guardian reports:

[Awad was] among a group of boys who had just completed an exam on the last day of school before a midterm break when they approached the barrier, reports said. The Israeli Defense Forces said the youths were "attempting to infiltrate into Israel", and its soldiers "responded immediately". It confirmed live fire was used.

According to villagers, Samir was grabbed by soldiers who were concealed in a trench. He broke free and was running away when a soldier or soldiers opened fire. He was hit by three or four bullets, in his head, torso and leg.

Ayed Morrar, a member of the village popular resistance committee, said: "They shot him in cold blood, they shot him in the back. He wasn't threatening them." He said there had been no stone-throwing at the time of the shooting.

As Haaretz reports on Tuesday, Awad is the fourth Palestinian killed by IDF fire in recent days. On Monday a 21-year-old Gaza man, Mustafa Abu Jarad, died after being shot in the head by Israeli forces.

"Time and time again we hear of the claim that the young Palestinians provoked or hurled stones, but nothing justifies the shooting of live rounds at children."

On Saturday a 21-year-old Palestinian was shot dead by IDF troops while trying to cross the barrier near the southern West Bank town of Dura, and the day before a 22-year-old man was killed and another injured—also by the IDF—in northern Gaza.

Morrar, also interview by Haaretz said there was "no just cause to open fire" in the Awad case and that the spate of recent killings by Israeli Defense Forces is creating increased tension throughout the occupied West Bank.

"In recent days we feel an escalation by the army, which shoots at everything that approaches the fence, even if they are children," Mora told Haaretz. "Time and time again we hear of the claim that the young Palestinians provoked or hurled stones, but nothing justifies the shooting of live rounds at children."

The true provocation, Mora explained, is Israelis building of the separation wall on private Palestinian lands.

Israelis, he said, "shouldn't speak of provocations, the fact they built the fence on our lands is provocation."

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