A Palestinian child was killed due to police gunfire while attempting to arrest wanted persons in the central Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the incident and extends sorrow and support to the family of the deceased. PCHR further calls upon the Attorney General to seriously investigate the incident, hold accountable those responsible for it and publish the results in public.

According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 19:00 on Tuesday, 13 December 2016, Mohammed Hasan Mahmoud al-Toum (15), from the new refugee camp, west of al-Nusairat, was killed by a bullet to the chest. The boy was among a crowd that gathered after the Anti-Narcotics Police had stopped a car and arrested its passengers. A police officer opened fire in the air to disperse the crowd and the force then left. Meanwhile, people noticed that al-Toum was on the ground. He was transported to al-Aqsa Hospital by a police car that was coincidentally around.

Governor of the central Gaza Strip stated that they started following up the case once they learned about it and the boy had been transported to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City to be examined at the Forensic Section. The preliminary investigations unveiled that a bullet rebounded and hit the boy’s chest, killing him. The police formed an investigation committee comprising of the Police General Supervisor and Police Chief in the Central Gaza Strip that headed to the deceased’s family, informing them of the formation of the committee to investigate the incident.

Shooting while arresting wanted persons to disperse the crowd in the densely populated Gaza Strip requires more precaution and vigilance in such circumstances, whereas a security service is supposed to be enforcing the law. Taking precautions when using firearms is an obligation over the security services according to the local and international laws.

PCHR highlights the importance of enforcing the rule of the law and holding accountable those responsible for the death of boy. PCHR also calls upon the competent authorities to issue strict instructions to ensure imposing restrictions on the use of firearms. Therefore, the security services should respect and be committed to the international standards relevant to the use of force and firearms.

Additionally, PCHR calls upon the Attorney General to initiate an investigation, as what had happened mounts to a crime of negligence. Moreover, PCHR stresses the victim’s family right to reimbursement and remedy.