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Israeli Troops Kill Palestinian Youth in West Bank


Israeli forces have shot and killed a Palestinian youth in the occupied territories. Robert Berger reports from the VOA bureau in Jerusalem.

Israeli troops manning an observation post spotted a Palestinian outside the Jewish settlement of Yitzhar in the West Bank. The army said the suspect lit a firebomb, and fearing that it was aimed at them, soldiers opened fire and killed him. An army spokesman said a knife and tools were found on the body, indicating that he planned to infiltrate the settlement and carry out an attack.

The Palestinian was identified as a 14-year-old boy from the village of Assira al-Kubliyeh near the settlement.

The incident came a week after another Palestinian, believed to be from the same village, entered the settlement and stabbed and wounded a 9-year-old Israeli boy. That prompted settlers to go on a rampage in the village, firing live ammunition and throwing stones at houses. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert accused the settlers of carrying out a "pogrom," a term usually used for the persecution of Jews.

Settler activist Yisrael Meidad says there is bad blood between the Palestinian village and Yitzhar, the Jewish settlement.

"I was given material from Yitzhar people, going back at least three years, of press releases relating to their complaints about their fields being burned, rocks being thrown and other threatening and dangerous activities," he said. "And the Arabs have presented pictures and videos claiming the same story from the other side."

Responding to the shooting incident, the Israeli army said troops prevented a terrorist attack on the settlement. But Palestinians said firing live ammunition at a 14-year-old boy is excessive use of force.

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