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Soldiers hiding in house under construction killed a 16-year-old

Details revealed by B'Tselem researcher

Muhammad Abu Salah (Photo Courtesy of the Family)

Jerusalem24 – B’Tselem – Sunday evening, 13 February 2022, large military and Border Police forces entered the town of Silat al-Harithiya, northwest of the city of Jenin, to demolish the homes of four residents accused of killing Yehuda Dimentman near the settlement of Homesh on 16 December 2021.

During clashes that ensued following their entry, Palestinians hurled stones, Molotov cocktails, and explosives at the forces and opened live fire on them. According to media reports, the forces fired crowd control weapons and live ammunition at the Palestinians, critically injuring three of them. The forces eventually demolished only one housing unit that evening, belonging to Mahmoud Jaradat, where his wife and four children – all minors – lived.

At the same time, about 10 teenagers and young men from the area gathered on the al-Wadian road connecting the town of al-Yamun with Silat al-Harithiya and protested the demolition. They burned tires and shouted slogans at the soldiers, who were a few hundred meters away. Several soldiers were hiding on the ground floor of a two-story house under construction overlooking the road, about 120 meters from the teens and young men. That night, there was no street lighting, and the road was dark.

At around 10:00 P.M., a car with armed Palestinians turned off from the direction of al-Yamun to the road leading up to the house where the soldiers were hiding. When the car was about 20 meters from the house, the Palestinians fired several shots at the house. A few seconds later, the soldiers fired from inside the house, and the car drove towards al-Yamun. At least part of the shooting was directed at the al-Wadian road, where the teens and young men were. One of the bullets hit Muhammad Abu Salah (16) in the head as he was fleeing the scene. He was taken to a hospital in Jenin, where he was pronounced dead.

A flower pot and poster in memory of Abu Salah at the spot where he was killed. (Photo by Abdulkarim Said, B’Tselem. March 8th, 2022)

The soldiers who killed Abu Salah opened massive fire at a group of teens and young men who were about 120 meters away from them, and who said they were not even aware the soldiers were in the building.

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Abdulkarim Sadi on 15 February 2022, B.S. (17), a resident of al-Yamun, recounted what happened that night:

On Sunday, 13 February 2022, at around 9:30 P.M., I met with my relative Muhammad Abu Salah outside our house, following posts on social media calling for residents of the Jenin area to come to Silat al-Harithiya to protest the intention to demolish the homes of residents accused of killing a settler. 

We went to the al-Wadian road, which connects our town with Silat al-Harithiya. We didn’t see any military vehicles or soldiers in our area. There were other young men on the same road burning tires and calling slogans. We heard shots from the direction of Silat al-Harithiya, which is about a kilometer from where we were. We didn’t know there were soldiers in our area, too. 

At around 10:00 P.M., we were still in the same place when we suddenly heard three shots, followed by rapid-fire in our direction. Muhammad, some other young guys, and I ran south towards our homes. After a few meters, I noticed Muhamad was lagging a little behind me. I looked back to call him to hurry up, and then I saw him fall in front of the factory that’s by the roadside. I stopped and ran back to help him and pick him up, and then I saw he was wounded in the head and bleeding heavily. I called out to the young men who were near me, “He’s been hit, he’s been hit.” They helped me carry him to a private car that was there and took him to the Ibn Sina Hospital in Jenin. I rode with him. At the hospital, the doctors tried to give him first aid and treat him. I waited there until midnight, and then the doctors announced he was dead from a bullet to the head. 

M.B.S (21), a resident of al-Yamun, was also on the al-Wadian road that night. When he saw military vehicles at the intersection leading to Silat al-Harithiya, he headed back south to the area where Muhammad Abu Salah, his relative, and other young men were standing.

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Abdulkarim Sadi on 15 February 2022, he described what happened next:

At that time, there were several young men on the road. Suddenly, I heard shots fired in our direction. At first, there were three or four shots, and then a massive volley. I didn’t know where the shooting was coming from, whether from the area of the military jeeps north of us or from somewhere else. I started running. While I was running, I heard a young guy shouting that there was someone wounded. I went back and saw a teen lying on the ground about 20 meters away, with a lot of blood trickling from his face. 

I picked him up along with some other young guy and we walked a few meters south to a car that was parked by the roadside. I asked the driver to take him to the hospital. I stayed in the area but moved away to a place that was sheltered from gunfire, between the houses. After the young guy was injured, other young men were also injured on the same road. At midnight, I learned that the young guy who was taken to the hospital was Muhammad Abu Salah, who lived in my neighborhood, and that he passed away after the doctors tried to save his life.

You can read B’Tselem’s report here

Mohammad Hamayel

Ramallah based journalist, Mohammad graduated from Al-Quds University with a B.A. in Media and Television. He has covered the 2015 Jerusalem Intifada as well as the Great March of Return for international media outlets. currently an editor/presenter at Jerusalem24. A UN alumni and a follower of global events and politics, especially American affairs.

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