Beit Ur: Several thousand Palestinians attended the funeral Thursday of a 15-year-old shot dead by Israeli troops who apparently mistook him for a stone-thrower, while new details of the incident emerged.
As the procession of mourners left the home of the teenager’s family in Beit Ur near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, his mother demanded justice.
“It was not a mistake,” Amal Badran said. “They have to be held accountable. Justice must be carried out.”
She said her son had suffered an injustice “like all of the Palestinian people.”
Her son, Mahmoud Rafat Badran, was returning from a visit to a water park early Tuesday when police opened fire on the car in which he was travelling, killing him and wounding four of his teenage cousins.
The incident sparked outrage and renewed debate over when Israeli forces should open fire.
The military said the overnight shooting followed stone-throwing at Israelis travelling on a road that cuts through the West Bank for several kilometres (miles) on its way from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv.
Israeli media reported two foreigners and one Israeli lightly wounded by stone-throwing. The stone-throwers were also said to have hurled firebombs at passing cars and poured oil on the road.
The army initially said troops fired toward the assailants, but it has since revised its account, saying a probe has shown that Badran and the others were shot by mistake.
An investigation has been opened into the circumstances of the incident.
Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported Thursday that a vehicle transporting a platoon commander and two soldiers had been hit by stones in the area and they made a U-turn to search for the perpetrators.
The officer and one of the soldiers exited their vehicle, later opening fire on a car travelling at high speed which they believed to be carrying the assailants, the paper reported, citing testimony in the probe.
The paper said the officer had “fired many bullets.”
Palestine Liberation Organisation secretary general Saeb Erekat has harshly condemned the shooting, saying Badran had been “murdered” and calling it a “cold-blooded assassination”.
Israeli rights group B’Tselem said its research indicated “soldiers arbitrarily fired at the car, having no indication that any of its passengers had been involved in stone or Molotov cocktail throwing.”
“This shooting incident is a direct result of military policy which enables, despite the official prohibition in the open-fire regulations, to use deadly fire even in cases where there is no threat to life and even when the soldiers have other, non-lethal, means at their disposal,” the rights group alleged.