Israel fires at Palestinian stone throwers, teen said killed

JERUSALEM (AP) — A 16-year-old Palestinian boy was shot and killed by Israeli forces early Saturday in the occupied West Bank after soldiers opened fire at stone-throwing Palestinians, according to Israeli and Palestinian officials.

The official Palestinian news agency Wafa said that Mohammed Abdallah Hamed was wounded by Israeli gunfire near the city of Ramallah and then taken away by Israeli forces. It said the teen died in Israeli custody, and that the army was expected to release the body later Saturday.

The Israeli military said soldiers had fired at a group of Palestinians who were throwing stones along a main highway. It confirmed shooting one person, but gave no further details on his condition or whereabouts.

Recent months have seen a rise in deadly violence in the West Bank. The military has carried out near-daily raids following a series of attacks inside Israel that killed 19 Israelis, with several attackers coming from the northern West Bank town of Jenin.

Several dozen Palestinians have been killed in Israeli military raids. Most of the dead were alleged to have opened fire on Israeli forces or hurled stones or firebombs at them. The dead also include two apparent passers-by.

Nearly 500,000 Israeli settlers live in more than 130 settlements scattered across the West Bank, many of which are fully built up and now resemble suburbs or small towns. Nearly 3 million Palestinians live in the West Bank under Israeli military rule.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war and the Palestinians want it to be the main part of their future state. Israel views the West Bank as the biblical and historical heartland of the Jewish people. Every government, including the current one, has expanded settlements.

The Palestinians and much of the international community view the settlements as a violation of international law and an obstacle to peace because they absorb and divide up the land on which a future Palestinian state would be established.

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