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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

Muhammad Daraghmeh, neighbor

Muhammad Daraghmeh

Starting at around 7 AM, there were soldiers standing on the road that leads to Tayasir village, about 100 meters away from my house. At around 9:30, I went up to the roof of my house in order to warn the kids that were playing in the area. I told them to move further away because I was afraid that the army might shoot one of them. The groups of children moved farther away, but later they came back and kept on playing.

Some of the soldiers were sitting in one of the two jeeps, and other soldiers were standing near the jeeps and stopped cars that passed by. At around 10:30, I saw one of the soldiers stick his head out of the roof of the jeep and aim his weapon towards a group of children playing about 150 meters away from him. He shot one bullet and then I heard two of three more. I saw one of the children fall to the ground. I didn't understand what could be the cause for the shooting. The children had been playing all morning. They were chasing each other. I could hear them laughing and talking. They don't have a club or a park to play in. They gather in the alleyways and yards that are between the houses. One of the kids was playing with a toy gun. These are the toys that our children play with. They live in a reality of gunfire and violence and play games like '“Arabs against the army.'” They act out all the parts of this game - the soldiers shooting people, then a funeral for whoever was shot.

Later on, I found out that the boy that was shot was Salah a-Din Abu Muhsan, who is 14 years old. I saw a local taxi coming from the east, towards Tubas. He stopped near the body, lifted him up from the ground and put him in the back seat. I stood frozen for a while. I didn't know what to do. Then I went back into the house, changed clothes and went to the clinic to find out what had happened to the boy. Went I left my house, I saw that the army had left and had gone to the center of the village. I heard from one of the youngsters that they threw stones at the jeep.

When I got to the clinic I was told that the boy's condition was severe and that he would be transported to the Jenin hospital. An ambulance came and drove him there. An hour later, I heard the announcement on the loudspeakers that he had died.

Muhammad 'Ali Ibrahim Daraghmeh, aged 32, is a married construction worker who lives in Tubas. His testimony was taken by Salma a-Deb'i at his house, on 23 January, 2005.