Israeli forces shoot, kill 15-year-old Palestinian boy with expanding bullet in Jenin

15-year-old Walid Saad Daoud Nassar died on March 9 from abdominal injuries sustained when an Israeli soldier shot him with an expanding bullet in Jenin two days earlier, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International – Palestine. (Photo: Courtesy of the Nassar family)

Ramallah, March 9, 2023—A 15-year-old Palestinian boy died today after Israeli forces shot him with an expanding bullet on Tuesday.

Walid Saad Daoud Nassar, 15, was shot in the abdomen by an Israeli soldier inside an armored military vehicle around 4 p.m. on March 7 in Jenin as Israeli forces were withdrawing from Jenin refugee camp after a military incursion, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International – Palestine. One bullet struck the right side of Walid’s abdomen and exited the left side. He was able to walk about 10 meters (33 feet) before collapsing, and a private vehicle transferred him to Al-Razi Hospital in Jenin. Due to his critical condition, Walid was transferred to Al-Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem around 5 p.m. on March 8 and he was pronounced dead around 8 a.m. on March 9.

“Systemic impunity creates an ultra permissive context where Israeli forces know no bounds and routinely shoot to kill Palestinian children in circumstances where there is no imminent threat to life,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “Unlawful killings of Palestinian children have become the norm as Israeli forces become increasingly empowered to use intentional lethal force in situations that are not justified. In short, these are war crimes with no consequence.”

The bullet that struck Walid was likely an expanding bullet, according to documentation collected by DCIP. These bullets used by Israeli forces are designed to expand inside the body upon impact, causing massive internal injuries. Customary international law prohibits the use of expanding bullets, or any bullets that expand or flatten easily in the human body, though DCIP regularly documents fatalities and injuries seemingly as a result of expanding bullets, also known as dumdum bullets.

The Israeli military carried out an incursion into Jenin refugee camp around 1:30 p.m. on March 7. Armed confrontations ensued, and over the course of about two hours, Israeli forces killed six Palestinians and wounded at least 25 others.

Israeli forces withdrew from Jenin refugee camp in armored military vehicles around 4 p.m. taking different routes. Israeli forces that traveled along Haddad road encountered many stone-throwing Palestinian youth, allegedly including Walid. An Israeli soldier fired at least seven consecutive bullets at the group of Palestinian youth through a small window in one of the passing armored Israeli military vehicles striking Walid.

Walid is the 15th Palestinian child killed by Israeli forces in 2023, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces have shot and killed 14 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, and a 10-year-old Palestinian child in Gaza succumbed to head wounds he sustained during the Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip in August 2022.

Under international law, intentional lethal force is only justified in circumstances where a direct threat to life or of serious injury is present. However, investigations and evidence collected by DCIP regularly suggest that Israeli forces use lethal force against Palestinian children in circumstances that may amount to extrajudicial or wilful killings.

53 Palestinian children were killed in 2022, according to documentation collected by DCIP, including 36 Palestinian children shot and killed by Israeli forces or settlers in the occupied West Bank. DCIP documented the killing of 17 Palestinian children between August 5–7 after Israeli forces launched a military offensive in the Gaza Strip.