Nabi Saleh, Ramallah, occupied West Bank – Hundreds of Palestinian mourners gathered in Ramallah to bury two-and-a-half-year-old Muhammad al-Tamimi, who died in a Tel Aviv hospital after being shot by Israeli forces last week.
The funeral procession, which started from Ramallah Hospital on Tuesday, carried Palestinian flags and banners, shouted angry slogans condemning Israel’s crimes against children and the Palestinian people, and marched mourners to his home in the village of Nabi Saleh.
His mother, Marwa Al-Tamimi, recalled what was a quiet evening as she prepared to attend her daughter-in-law’s birthday celebration with her family last Thursday.
Muhammad was in the car with his father Haitham. Moments later, she heard gunshots.
“I ran outside to see what was happening,” Marwa, 32, told Al Jazeera. “My husband was trying to drive the car away from the direction of the shooting … (it was) straight and heavy on the car.”
“My husband kept shouting ‘Hamoodi, Hamoodi’ (referring to his young son) during the shooting while driving,” the distraught mother added.
Haitham (42) was also injured. Muhammad was seriously injured and died five days later.
The al-Tamimi family, which also includes another son – Osama, eight – lives in Nabi Saleh, west of the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, near the Israeli settlement of Neve Tzuf.
The family said such shootings are frequent at residents and nearby houses.
“I didn’t know what to do. They were fired upon. I saw my husband and child injured. I was sure he was killed. It became clear because I saw blood pouring from his head,” Marwa said.
An injured Haitham continued driving towards their home, then ran to his wife, “Muhammad is gone… Muhammed is gone…” she said.
Their neighbors quickly gathered to rush the injured to a hospital in a nearby settlement. Marwa said a soldier stopped him at a checkpoint and Mohammad was evacuated in an air ambulance.
Four hours later, Marva was able to travel with her relatives to Tel Aviv to see her son, who was transferred to the Israeli Tel-Hashomer Hospital.
“When I reached the hospital at 2 am, the doctors tried to hide my son’s condition from me, but I told them that I was sure his condition was very serious,” said Marwa.
Muhammad He was shot in the head, which burst his brain vessels. His death was announced on Monday and his body was transferred to the Palestine Medical Complex.
Israel’s military said on Monday that soldiers “responded with live fire” to the firing on Neve Tzuf.
Two Palestinians were wounded, the army said, adding that it “regrets the harm to civilians” and that an investigation is underway.
Bilal al-Tamimi, a relative and community activist in the area, told Al Jazeera: “The shooting of the boy and his father confirms that there was intent to kill.” Following the incident, Israeli forces sealed off the village until the next morning, he added.
Two-year-old Mohammed Haitham Ibrahim Tamimi died at 2pm today after being shot in the head with live ammunition by Israeli forces on June 1 in Nabi Saleh, northwest of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. He is the 20th Palestinian child to be shot dead by Israeli forces in 2023. pic.twitter.com/xWnwt1mSKk
— Defense for Children (@DCIPalestine) June 5, 2023
In a statement, Defense for Children International – Palestine’s (DCIP) Accountability Program Director Ayd Abu Ikhtaish said it was a clear violation by Israel to indiscriminately fire live ammunition into a residential area where the life of an Israeli soldier was not threatened. The military’s own policies.
“The extrajudicial killing of Palestinian children has become commonplace as the Israeli military has become increasingly empowered to use deliberate lethal force in unjustified circumstances,” he added. “This is a war crime of no consequence.”
Twenty-seven Palestinian children were killed in 2023. Israeli forces shoot dead 20 children in occupied West Bank Six children were killed in May’s military offensive in the Gaza Strip, the DCIP said.
“Under international law, intentional lethal force is justified only in situations of direct threat to life or serious injury,” the DCIP said in a statement. “However, investigations and evidence collected by DCIP consistently indicate that Israeli forces use lethal force against Palestinian children, which may result in unlawful or intentional killings.”