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Lying in ambush: Palestinian teens “were targeted to be killed”

A total of ten bullets hit the two teenagers, six of them aimed at the chest and abdomen.

Jerusalem24 – On Saturday afternoon, 18-year-old Palestinian teenager Musaab Nafal-Zaben was shot and killed by six live bullets fired at him by the Israeli military. Three hit him in the chest and heart, one in the abdomen, one in the hand, and one in the thigh.

Musaab and his cousin, 18-year-old Nishan Nafal-Zaben, had gone down to lands belonging to the village of Al-Mazraa Al-Sharqiyeh north of Ramallah, near an area known as Wadi Al-Haramyieh. It is presumed they had gone to throw stones at passing vehicles.

The two teenagers were then ambushed by Israeli soldiers, said an army statement, and fired at multiple times.

Nishan was shot a total of four times, and then detained by the Israeli army.

“Intubated and under anesthesia”

A Palestinian Red Crescent paramedic said during an interview with Al-Irsal News on Saturday that they received a call from the Military Affairs Authority informing them of injuries in the Wadi Al-Haramyieh area.

“We sent in two ambulances, we looked for the two injured in the mountains in the area,” said the paramedic. “Our paramedics found one [Musaab]… Then Israeli special units, paratroopers, and Israeli forces arrived and started a search operation and found the other teen on the other side.”

The paramedic added that the condition of the teen found by the Israeli army was critical, and he was transferred by ambulance to a hospital in Jerusalem.

Nishan’s father, Dammar Nafal-Zaben, told Jerusalem24 that two bullets hit his son in the chest, one in the left leg, and another in the right leg.

He also said that he and his family had already applied for permits to enter Israel and assess their son’s condition.

Lawyer Kareem Ajwa of the Commission of Detainees’ and Ex-Detainees’ Affairs said that Nishan is currently being held in the intensive care unit at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem and is intubated and under anesthesia.

“The goal was to kill them”

Musaab’s brother Hakim describes him as “lovable, passionate, and reckless at times, but with a white heart.”

Musaab’s mother, who said her farewell to her son along with the rest of the family on Sunday, had returned from the United States just a few days prior to Musaab’s killing, according to Hakim.

Hakim told Jerusalem24 that it was Musaab’s decision to go down to that spot in Wadi Al-Haramiyeh, that his brother was mature and aware of his choices.

“What happened is that the Israeli soldiers targeted Musaab and Nishan to kill them,” added Hakim. “Not to arrest them or just injure them – but to kill.”

Lying in ambush

The Israeli military, according to its own statement, “ambushed” the alleged stone-throwers before firing at them.

Setting ambushes to shoot or detain Palestinian stone-throwers is a documented practice in the West Bank. In the first ten months of 2022, Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem documented at least seven incidents in which five Palestinians, four of whom were teenagers, were shot and killed in ambushes across the West Bank.

During confrontations between Israeli soldiers and local youth, musta’rabeen (undercover forces posing as Palestinian protestors) often infiltrate the protests, wait for a youth to prepare throwing a stone, and then kidnap the youth at gunpoint.

Al-Meezan Centre for Human Rights said in a statement on Sunday that the Israeli military has a “lenient policy” for shooting at Palestinians. The rights group described Israel’s killing of Musaab as an “extrajudicial field execution”, the likes of which are “supported by the highest political and military levels” in Israel.

Nadeen Alshaer

Alshaer is a Palestinian journalist, a Birzeit University graduate with a B.A. in TV and Radio Broadcasting Journalism. Alshaer has 5+ years of experience in journalism. She currently works as a reporter, editor and presenter/producer for PBC-Palestine TV and Jerusalem24 radio. She’s a UN and Kelley School of Business alumna.

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