Israel says Palestinian child killed ‘accidentally’ | Takes ownership of West Bank News
The father of the two-year-old boy called Israel’s first investigation into how his son was killed a ‘cover-up’.
Seven-year-old Osama wakes up every night with nightmares about his younger brother being killed at the hands of Israeli forces earlier this month, killing Israeli forces now say it was a “mistake”.
The Israeli military said on Wednesday that the “unexpected” death of two-year-old Mohammed al-Tamimi occurred after a soldier mistakenly assumed the Palestinian baby and his father were fleeing gunmen shooting towards the illegal settlement of Neve Tzu in the West Bank.
“During the search, he saw a suspicious vehicle and fired several times in the air in defiance of orders,” the Israeli army said in a statement after an initial investigation.
“At the same time, a soldier standing at a lookout post… pointed out two figures getting into a vehicle… thinking they were terrorists fleeing the site and that they were shooting at him from the vehicle. After receiving permission from his superior, the soldier fired several bullets towards the vehicle,” the statement continued.
The statement went on to say that the only thing that could be done was to censure the soldier who fired into the air “in defiance of orders” and that the army would continue to learn and promoting.
On the way to the birthday party
Mohammed’s father, Haitham al-Tamimi, said that on June 2, the day of the incident, he was taking his son to his niece’s birthday party when the bullets from the Israeli forces came down on them.
His mother, Marwa al-Tamimi, was nearby and heard gunshots.
“I ran outside to see what was going on,” Marwa previously told Al Jazeera.
“My husband was screaming at the continuous shooting while driving, saying, ‘Hamoudi, Hamoudi’ [referring to his little son]”, said the grieving mother.
Haitham was also injured in the incident and was taken to a hospital in Ramallah, while his son was taken to an Israeli hospital in Sheba by helicopter where he died of his injuries five days later.
The family is still in shock over Mohammed’s death, with Haitham calling the initial Israeli investigation into him a “cover-up”.
“Of course, we did not expect justice, but this report feels to us like a crime on top of the original crime,” he said.
“This is what they have to say when my son is killed in cold blood? When his life was cut short before I could find out what kind of person he would be. “
Hundreds of Palestinian mourners gathered in Ramallah last week to bury the toddler.
If the Israeli military decides to open a criminal investigation, the soldiers involved could be affected.
The Palestinian foreign ministry wants accountability for the death, seeing the incident as a crime.
Tensions in the West Bank are high as Israel has been expanding its almost nightly military offensives in the territory still held by its far-right government.
Since the beginning of 2023, Israeli forces have killed at least 158 Palestinians, including 26 children, according to the Wafa news agency.
The death toll also includes 36 Palestinians killed by the Israeli army in a four-day offensive on the besieged Gaza Strip between May 9 and 13.
More than 700,000 Israelis live in villages in the occupied West Bank and live in East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 War.