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Video shows ‘unlawful’ killing of Palestinian teens

A rights group releases video which it says shows two teenage Palestinians unlawfully killed by Israeli security forces

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A rights group released video this week which it said showed that two Palestinian teens shot dead by Israeli security forces during a recent protest were killed in an unlawful manner.

Defense for Children International Palestine said Monday that Nadeem Siam Nawara, 17, and Mohammad Mahmoud Odeh, 16, had both suffered fatal gunshot wounds during a May 15 Nakba Day protest outside Israel's Ofer prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah.

“The boys were participating in a demonstration near Ofer military prison to mark Nakba Day and express solidarity with hunger striking prisoners currently held in administrative detention by Israel,” DCI-Palestine said in news release posted with the video on YouTube.

"The images captured on video show unlawful killings where neither child presented a direct and immediate threat to life at the time of their shooting," Rifat Kassis, the executive director of DCI-Palestine, said in the release.

"These acts by Israeli soldiers may amount to war crimes, and the Israeli authorities must conduct serious, impartial, and thorough investigations to hold the perpetrators accountable for their crimes," he said.

Under Israeli rules of engagement, troops can use live ammunition only if they feel they are in mortal danger or if they are fired on themselves.

No uniformed Israeli troops can be seen in the video footage and there is no audio.

DCI-Palestine said the video was edited from six hours of surveillance footage from fixed security cameras at a Palestinian-owned business that overlooks the scene.

Initial video shows a youth preparing to hurl a stone from the end of a street, which runs alongside a row of shuttered shops. Seven minutes later, according to a timestamp on the film, a young man is seen falling over, felled by apparent gunfire, as he walks down the street, his hands by his side.

A group of bystanders are seen to duck at the same moment.

An hour later, a second youth collapses to the ground as he walks away from the area, which by now appears largely deserted, his back turned to the scene of the earlier confrontations.

The Israeli military said a preliminary probe indicated security personnel had fired rubber bullets but not live ammunition during the May 15 clashes outside Ofer prison.

However, it said that two investigations - one by military police - were still under way.

Brad Parker, an attorney for DCI, could not rule out the possibility that the Palestinians who were killed had been involved in earlier violence at the scene.

"The broader context is, there were clashes," Parker told Reuters. "It's difficult to tell if they were throwing stones, [but] at the exact moment they were shot they weren't active."

Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement that the use of "excessive and indiscriminate violence" constituted a war crime and called on world powers to hold Israel accountable for "extrajudicial killings."

(With Reuters)