Israeli forces shoot dead Palestinian teen in occupied West Bank

Atallah Rayyan, 17, was fatally shot at a military post near a Jewish settlement after he allegedly tried to attack Israeli soldiers.

Israeli soldiers guard near the illegal Jewish settlement of Ariel [File: Ammar Awad/Reuters]
Israeli soldiers guard near the illegal Jewish settlement of Ariel [File: Ammar Awad/Reuters]

Israeli forces have shot dead a Palestinian teen near the Jewish settlement of Ariel in the occupied West Bank.

According to an Israeli military statement on Tuesday, Atallah Rayyan, 17, tried to carry out a stabbing attack against Israeli soldiers deployed at the Ariel settlement junction.

The statement said the soldiers at the military post “spotted an assailant who attempted to stab two (Israeli) soldiers”.

“One of the soldiers blocked the assailant’s multiple stabbing attacks and the commander of the troops who was at the scene fired towards the assailant and neutralised him.”

The statement added that Israeli forces suffered no casualties. A video released by the army showed a female soldier identified as “Cpl L” who said she was on guard duty when an assailant “with a knife in hand jumped on top of me”.

She said she fended him off by pushing him and hitting him several times with her gun. The Israeli soldier said the attacker then attempted to stab her before her commander shot him with a single bullet.

However, the video showed only the back of the soldier and no photos or video of the incident were immediately available.

The Palestinian health ministry confirmed that “a citizen” had been shot dead by the “occupation forces”.

Palestinian and Israeli rights groups have accused Israel of using excessive force against “lone wolf” Palestinian attackers, and of killing some suspected attackers who could have been apprehended.

‘Only concern was graduation’

Rayyan, a senior in high school, is from the village of Qarawat Bani Hassan, west of Salfit in the northern occupied West Bank.

His mother Mahera told local Palestinian news agency Ma’an her son’s only concern was to graduate from school.

“On Thursday, he was planning to meet his friends after finishing the last exam of the semester,” she said, tears running down her face.

Rayyan woke up on Tuesday and went to school to take an exam, his mother recounted. He returned home, had breakfast then set off to Nablus to help his father at work like he occasionally does during his spare time. But he did not make it to the city.

“Atallah left the house and did not return,” Mahera said.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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