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World calls for accountability as Israeli army admits “high probability” it killed 15-year-old girl

Jerusalem24 – Several countries have called for an investigation into and accountability following the killing of 15-year-old Jana Zakarneh, who was shot four times in the head and chest while standing on the roof of her home.

The Israeli army said yesterday there was a “high probability” that one of its snipers shot and killed Jana during a military raid in Jenin on Sunday night.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the matter was “under investigation”, that soldiers “do not shoot deliberately at uninvolved people” and that “the commanders and soldiers have full support to continue to fulfill their mission with professionalism and determination.”

Jana is the thirty-seventh child to be shot and killed by the Israeli military in the occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem in 2022 and the second in less than a week. 16-year-old Diaa Al-Rimawi, also in the eleventh grade, was shot and killed by the Israeli military during confrontations between local youth and the Israeli army on Thursday afternoon.

“Looking for the cat”

The army statement claims Jana was located in close proximity to armed Palestinian groups shooting at soldiers from rooftops, and that it was “probing if Zakarna had possibly aided the gunmen by observing or filming the Israeli forces during the raid.”

Her family say she went to the roof looking for the cat and didn’t come back down. Her brother went to look for her after a while and found Jana lying on her back near the rooftop door, with the cat and its crate next to her.

According to documentation collected by Defense for Children International–Palestine, the Israeli military detained three Palestinian men they arrested during the raid in a fourth-floor apartment belonging to a Palestinian family of the neighborhood. The army entered the apartment, held the arrested men in one room and the family that lived in the apartment in another. Soldiers then went to the guest room which overlooks Jana’s house, located around 300 meters away.

The family found empty bullet casings on the floor under the window of the guest room after the army withdrew. They also reported hearing the sound of gunfire while they were held in the other room.

According to medical reports from Jenin Government Hospital, both Jana’s injuries and the bullet fragments are consistent with the use of exploding bullets, the type of ammunition used by Israeli snipers.

Mourners carry the body of 15-year-old Jana Zakarneh during her funeral in Jenin in the occupied West Bank, December 12, 2022. [Credit: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters]

“Hope for accountability”

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a press briefing on Monday: “It’s a heartbreaking incident any time you hear of a civilian being killed in these types of operations. We understand the IDF [the Israeli army] is undertaking an investigation into what happened. We hope to see accountability in this case.”

Price also noted that “her tragic death comes in the context of the escalating violence in the West Bank that we’ve noted and lamented for some time now.”

The British Consulate in Jerusalem urged “Israeli forces to carry out a swift and transparent investigation into this incident.”

British commentator and Director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding Chris Doyle asked in response “how many times” the Consulate had called for an investigation and “how many times” Israel had carried one out.

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