Israeli forces kill 16-year-old Palestinian in Nablus

Amer Abu Zaytoon (Social media)

Zena al-Tahhan

Al-Jazeera  /  January 5, 2023

Amer Abu Zaytoon is the fourth Palestinian to be killed this year by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank.

Ramallah, Occupied West Bank – Israeli forces have shot dead a Palestinian child during a raid on the northern occupied West Bank city of Nablus, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

Sixteen-year-old Amer Abu Zaytoon was shot in the head on Thursday morning, according to the ministry.

Abu Zaytoon is the fourth Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank this year, after more than 170 were killed last year in the territory, as well as occupied East Jerusalem. His death comes after another Palestinian child, 15-year-old Adam Ayyad, was killed by Israeli forces on Tuesday.

Israeli special forces raided the Balata refugee camp in Nablus early on Thursday, during which clashes with armed fighters broke out.

Residents said Abu Zaytoon was shot dead while he was walking in the camp and came upon the Israeli special forces, according to the Nablus-based journalist Bakr Abdelhaq.

“It’s hard to know what happened exactly because these things happen at night and in the tight alleyways of the camp,” Abdelhaq told Al-Jazeera.

Local media outlets have shared what they say is surveillance camera footage showing Abu Zaytoon walking and then running in the moments before he was killed. Al-Jazeera could not independently verify the footage.

The Israeli police said armed Palestinians had fired at a joint party of soldiers, border police and intelligence agents conducting a raid in Balata. The Israeli forces then shot “an armed person, who fired at the forces from close range”, the police claimed.

At least two other Palestinians were wounded after being hit with live ammunition during the raid, and two were arrested.

“There were armed clashes. They besieged the home of former prisoner Hassan Araysheh and then proceeded to raid it and beat family members inside, before arresting him,” said Abdelhaq.

The developments come as a result of a continuing Israeli military campaign of intensified raids and killings that has lasted almost a year.

The United Nations said 2022 was the deadliest year for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since 2006.

More than 30 children were among the dead last year, and at least 9,000 other Palestinians were injured.

Israeli forces have killed civilians confronting them during raids, uninvolved bystanders, as well as Palestinian fighters in targeted assassinations and during armed clashes.

While Israel has regularly carried out raids in the occupied West Bank, its forces intensified the policy in the wake of a series of Palestinian attacks in March last year. More than 30 people were killed in attacks by Palestinians throughout the year.

Zena al-Tahhan is Al-Jazeera English’s digital correspondent in Jerusalem