Israeli forces executed a Palestinian teenager, Muhammad Abu Latifa, during a raid of a West Bank refugee camp on Monday, family members and witnesses said, disputing Israeli claims that he fell to his death.
Abu Latifa, 18, of the Qalandia refugee camp near Ramallah was the fourth Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces this month.
Israeli soldiers entered the refugee camp early Monday to arrest two Palestinians suspected of plotting an attack in Israel, according to an Israeli military statement. One suspect reportedly surrendered, but the second, Abu Latifa, ran to the roof of a building to escape. He was shot in the legs before falling to his death, the statement said.
Qalandia residents said Abu Latifa was a member of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah political party but had no knowledge of his being affiliated with an armed group.
Jamal Abu Latifa, a camp official and the victim’s uncle, told Ma’an News Agency that his nephew jumped from roof to roof to escape Israeli soldiers. After the soldiers wounded him in the legs and captured him alive, they “shot him in the chest, then tied him with electricity wires,” he said.
Jamal Abu Latifa asserted he has evidence that this nephew’s “body parts were fractured as a result of the assault by soldiers.”
"The occupation army executed Muhammad after they detained him," he said.
Shahdi Awad, a camp resident who witnessed the killing, confirmed to Reuters that Muhammad Abu Latifa was shot dead and did not fall off a roof.
Israeli military spokeswoman Luba Samri refuted Awad’s claim, telling Reuters, “Our account is what happened.”
A Ramallah hospital source told Agence France-Press that Abu Latifa was "shot with three bullets, two in his thighs and one in his left leg" and that the cause of death was loss of blood.
Abu Latifa, who was buried in Qalandia later on Monday, was the fourth Palestinian in a month and the 18th this year to be killed by Israeli forces, according to Ma’an.
An Israeli soldier shot dead Falah Hammad Abu Maria, 53, in the southern West Bank on Thursday while attempting to arrest his son. On Wednesday, Israeli troops killed Muhammad Ahmad Alawneh, 21, during clashes near the West Bank city of Jenin.
Muhammad Hani al-Kasbah,17, of Qalandia was killed earlier this month after throwing stones at an Israeli military vehicle. The Israeli parliament approved a law on July 21 making stone-throwing an offense punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Israeli military raids are common in Palestinian refugee camps and cities throughout the West Bank, which Israel has occupied since 1967.
Israeli authorities say the raids are necessary to detain suspected “terrorists” and that troops can face dangerous rioting during the operations.
Palestinians, however, condemn the raids as a violation of their national sovereignty and basic human rights. Suspects captured during the raids often languish in Israeli prisons for months, sometimes years, awaiting trials that rights groups say are stacked in Israel’s favor.
Al Jazeera and wire services