Israeli settlers shot dead a 15-year-old Palestinian youth in the West Bank overnight Thursday after their car was pelted with stones, Palestinian security sources said.
The IDF confirmed that the teen's body had been found, but said the cause of death remains unclear at this point. Village resident and journalist Samer Shalaby said other youths who were with the boy said they were throwing stones and came under fire from one or more settlers.
According to a Palestinian source, witnesses said Ayssar Yasser, from the village of Mizra el Sharquieh, near Ramallah, in the north of the West Bank, was shot and killed after the settlers opened fire when their car was stoned.
Israeli police also confirmed the boy's death and said they were investigating the cause. Spokesman Gili Elhadad said police received reports of stone-throwing and gunshots in the area and are looking into both. The incident took place on Highway 60 at around 7 pm.
An Israeli army source confirmed that shots had been fired in that neighborhood after stones were thrown at the cars of Israeli civilians, but was not able to say if there had been victims.
The Palestinians said the teen's body was found a few hours after the shooting near a field that belongs to his family. According to them, the body was discovered not far from the site of a confrontation between a group of young Palestinians and a settler on Highway 60. They said the settler stepped out of his vehicle and fired a number of shots.
Dumar Zaban, the teen's cousin, told Ynet that gunshots were heard near the village and that residents went searching for the teen after evening prayers when he did not come home.
"We searched for him with flashlights. We knew that he had been working on his family's agricultural field, and we found him there under an olive tree – lying on his stomach, with a bullet wound in his back."
According to the cousin, a pathologist's report determined that a number of dum-dum bullets had exploded inside the teen's body.
A joint Israeli-Palestinian task force comprised of police representatives and physicians has been set up to investigate the circumstances of the boy's death.
Some two months ago a 16-year-old Palestinian was killed in a village near Nablus during a clash with IDF soldiers. The army said Palestinians threw dozens of stones at forces operating in the village, adding that soldiers responded with crowd-dispersing means but did not use live fire.
Also Thursday, a Jewish family from the outpost of Kida said it survived a "lynching attempt" near Silwan on Jerusalem Day.
The Yakobi family filed a complaint stating that Palestinians pelted their vehicle with stones near the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Wednesday.
While the Border Guard said it was unfamiliar with the incident, the family claimed that after it managed to escape the scene, officers near the site refused to chase after the assailants.
Meanwhile, a group of 60 settlers from Shilo who also participated in the Jerusalem Day march said they were pelted with stones by Arab residents of the Shufat Refugee Camp, north of Jerusalem.
During the incident a 20-year-old settler fired warning shots in the air. Security forces eventually rescued the group of settlers.
Ali Waked and The Associated Press contributed to the report