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From the field

IDF soldier shoots and kills a 14 year-old boy playing with his friends, in Tubas, north of Nablus, January 2005

Taufik Abu Muhsan, aged 14

Taufik Abu Muhsan

I'm an 8th grade student at the junior high school in Tubas. On Thursday morning, 20 January 2005, I woke up early in the morning and was very excited because it was the first day of the holiday. I took five shekels from my father and five from my mother and went to the toy store. I bought a plastic toy gun. All of my friends play with toy weapons. We like to play a game we called "the Israeli army against the Arabs." Around 8:30 A.M. [on 20 January 2005], my friend Salah a-Din came over to play with me on the street near my house, where most kids our age play. We played the role of Arabs and our friends pretended to be the Israeli army. Two army jeeps were parked around 150 meters away. They were searching vehicles driving towards Tayasir village. We didn't pay any attention to them since they were far away. There were about six soldiers standing near the Israeli jeeps.

Tufik Abu Muhsan, aged 14

Salah a-Din Abu Muhsan, aged 14

At around 10:30 AM I saw one of the soldiers stick his head out through the roof of the first jeep and aim his weapon at us. I heard one shot and then another two or three shots. I saw Salah a-Din fall to the ground without making a sound. His chest was bleeding. I tried to pick him up, but I couldn't.Then a vehicle came from the east. The driver got out of the car, picked Salah a-Din up and took him to the clinic. The jeep from which Salah a-Din was shot drove over to where Salah had fallen down. We ran away and hid in my backyard. We could see from there that a soldier got out of the jeep and picked something up off the ground. Maybe it was the toy gun that Salah a-Din was playing with.

My father told me later that Salah was taken to hospital in Jenin. An hour and a half later, I heard on the loudspeaker that he was dead , and everyone was called to participate in the funeral. I felt terrible. He was my friend, and we studied together. We were playing together, and we were far away from the soldiers. Nothing happened to cause the soldiers to fire. At night, my father came home and broke the pistol that I bought that morning. He told me that that was the reason that Salah a-Din had died, because he, too, played with a plastic rifle.

Taufik Muhammad Hassan Abu Muhsan, aged 14, is an 8th grade and resident of Tubas. His testimony was taken by Salma a-Deb'i, in his house, on 23 January, 2005.