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Israeli troops shoot and kill Palestinian youth

Death follows raid by Israeli military on Dheisheh refugee camp in West Bank city of Bethlehem

Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian youth during a military raid on a refugee camp in Bethlehem on Tuesday, medics said, igniting strikes and clashes that paralyzed parts of the West Bank city.

Jihad al-Jafari, 19, was killed after Israeli troops launched an incursion into Dheisheh refugee camp before dawn, sparking clashes with stone-throwing residents, according to medics and witnesses.

According to local reports, Jafari, a first-year culinary student at a local college, was awoken by the commotion and went unto his roof to see what had happened. There he was struck by an Israeli bullet to the chest and died.

"Israeli soldiers prevented anyone from reaching or rescuing him. They fired at anyone who would get close to help him," Muhanad Qaisy, 26, the victim’s neighbor, told Al Jazeera. "They also stopped the ambulance from entering the camp."

According to Qaisy, Jafari lay on the roof bleeding for more than an hour before he died.

Jihad al-Jafari, 19, was killed by Israeli troops on Feb. 23, 2015.
Via Muhanad Qaisy

Medics conducted an autopsy on Jafari at the Abu Dis forensic institute near East Jerusalem. Sabri al-Aloul, a forensic expert who read the autopsy report, said it showed the victim had been killed at close range by a bullet from a M16 rifle, according to Ma’an News Agency.

Aloul described Jafari’s death as "similar to an execution."

The Israeli army confirmed that a shooting occurred inside the camp, saying troops opened fire after coming under attack.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said that Palestinians hurled rocks, firebombs and other objects at the troops, wounding one soldier. "The force, feeling imminent danger to their lives, responded with fire toward an instigator," she said.

Thousands of Bethlehem residents mourned Jafari’s death at a procession preceding his burial late Tuesday. In a show of respect to the deceased teenager’s family and to protest the killing, area stores and schools closed.

"He was a very nice person," said Qaisy. "The soldiers had no reason to kill him. He was innocent. A simple, lovely kid."

While marching, some Palestinians threw stones at Israeli troops and denounced what they said are routine, deadly raids on refugee camps.

Established in 1949, the UNRWA-administered Dheisheh refugee camp is home to an estimated 13,000 Palestinians uprooted from 45 villages by Israeli forces during the war of 1948 and successive conflicts. Along with the rest of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, it is under Israeli military occupation.

Al Jazeera and wire services. Nadeem Muaddi contributed to this report.

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