JERUSALEM (AP) — A 3-year-old Palestinian boy was in critical condition in an Israeli hospital Friday morning after being shot dead by Israeli gunfire in the occupied West Bank. The military has opened an investigation into what it said was an unintentional shooting.
In a statement, the army said gunmen opened fire on Thursday evening towards the West Bank settlement of Neve Tzuf. He said soldiers at a guard post returned fire.
Moments later, Israeli doctors received reports that a Palestinian and the child had been seriously injured. The man was rushed to a Palestinian hospital, while the baby, after being resuscitated by Israeli doctors, was airlifted to Israeli hospital in Sheba. The hospital said the boy was in critical condition.
The military released a grainy video showing what it said were the gunmen firing towards the settlement and said it was looking for them.
But he said the incident was being reviewed, saying “he regrets the harm caused to non-combatants” and is “doing everything in his power to prevent such incidents”.
The shooting is the latest bloodshed in an outbreak of violence that has lasted for more than a year in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. This fighting has resumed since the new far-right Israeli government took office in late December.
Nearly 120 Palestinians have been killed in the two areas this year, nearly half of whom were members of armed militant groups, according to an Associated Press tally. The military says the number of militants is much higher. But young stone throwers and people not involved in the violence were also killed.
Meanwhile, Palestinian attacks targeting Israelis in these areas have killed at least 21 people.
Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as the Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Middle East war. Palestinians seek these territories for a future state.
Some 700,000 Israelis now live in settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Most of the international community views these settlements as illegal or as obstacles to peace.