Hamas says child shot amid Gaza border clash has died


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A 4-year-old boy shot during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers on the Gaza border has died, a senior official from Gaza’s Hamas-controlled Health Ministry told The Times of Israel on Wednesday.

Ahmad Abu Abed had been hit in his stomach and head during the regular Friday protest. Palestinians have held violent demonstrations regularly since March as part of what has been dubbed the “Great March of Return.” Hamas-led protesters, alongside armed members of various Palestinian factions, have repeatedly attempted to breach the security barrier and enter Israeli territory.

According to The Associated Press, many Palestinians have brought their children to view or participate in the protests. Israel has accused Hamas of using human shields, and many Israelis believe that it is irresponsible to bring children to what is essentially a war zone.

The Israeli military has said that while it believes the majority of those who died were members of Hamas, its troops have also accidentally killed civilians. In August, the army announced that it was launching  an investigation into the shooting deaths of two Palestinian teenagers who took part in the riots.

The decision to open the probe was made after examining debriefings of Israeli troops present at the time “in view of the suspicion that the shooting was not in accordance with the rules of engagement,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement. “Upon completion of the investigations, their findings will be examined by the Judge Advocate General’s Office.”

At that point, more than 160 Palestinians had been killed and thousands injured in the clashes.

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