SHAFAQNA – Israeli regime forces have been caught on camera surrounding and questioning a terrified Palestinian boy, who was seized outside his home in the occupied West Bank while he was wandering barefoot in search of a lost toy.
On Friday, Israeli rights group B’Tselem posted an amateur video, which shows a group of Israeli troops grabbing eight-year-old Sufian Abu Hitah by the arm near his house in al-Khalil (Hebron) and asking him to identify suspects in a recent stone-throwing incident.
The boy is seen on the video being led through an al-Khalil street surrounded by seven Israeli soldiers, with a few neighbors trying to rescue Sufian from the soldiers.
Amani, the boy’s mother, told B’Tselem that she asked a soldier to return her son, but he refused.
“I started crying and ran after the soldiers as they moved from house to house, to try and get them to let him go,” she said.
The Israeli military denied Friday that Sufian was asked to identify other boys, who had allegedly thrown stones and a firebomb at a nearby Israeli settlement over the weekend, but the child is heard in the video telling the troops in Arabic, “Which boy? I don’t know who he is.”
The occupied West Bank, particularly its flashpoint city of al-Khalil, has been the scene of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli troops since August 2015, when the regime imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds.
Some 285 Palestinians, including children, have been killed by Israeli troops since October that year, when the tensions intensified.
The Israeli military has come under fire by prominent international rights groups for extrajudicial killings of Palestinians and resorting to lethal force in its brutal crackdown on West Bank protests.
Over the past month alone, Israel troops have killed three Palestinians teenagers during their raids in the occupied West Bank and the blockaded Gaza Strip.
In a January report, the Geneva-based Defense for Children International (DCI) NGO said 2016 saw the highest number of Palestinian children killed by Israeli troops over the past decade.
The regime in Tel Aviv has also intensified its West Bank arrest campaign, carrying out overnight raids on Palestinian homes there and prompting clashes with the residents.
According to the latest figures released by rights institutions, there are currently 7,000 behind bars in Israeli jails, among them 300 children.
The Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs said in a report last October that Israeli prison guards “torture, beat and humiliate” an “overwhelming majority” of the Palestinian children held in prisons.