Mother of Palestinian child shot by Israeli soldiers calls for justice

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The mother of a Palestinian toddler who died of his wounds after being shot by Israeli soldiers last week called for justice on Tuesday as she attended his funeral in the occupied West Bank.

Marching with dozens of mourners, Marwa al-Tamimi held her toddler for the last time, his face fitting in her palms as she leaned in to kiss his forehead.

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“I want justice for my son, and for every person who shot at my husband and son to be held accountable,” she said.

Mohammad, who his mother said was months shy of his third birthday, succumbed on Monday to a gunshot wound to the head inflicted after he and his father came under Israeli gunfire near their home while driving to visit relatives.

Haitham al-Tamimi, the father, was shot in the shoulder.

“When I went to check on my son, I told (the soldiers) that my son was killed. They said ‘stand back or we’ll shoot,’” the mother, who was not in the car, told Reuters.

In a statement following the incident, the Israeli military said soldiers responded with live fire to shots fired by assailants toward a Jewish settlement, and two Palestinians, including a child, were wounded.

“The IDF regrets harm to non-combatants and is committed to doing everything in its power to prevent such incidents,” the statement said.

According to the Palestinian office of Defense for Children International (DCIP), al-Tamimi was one of 27 Palestinian minors killed as a result of Israeli military and settler activity in the occupied West Bank and Gaza since January.

Three Israeli minors were killed in the same period, according to Israeli figures.

“Without accountability, Israel’s crimes against our people/children will continue unabated,” Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh wrote in a tweet on Tuesday.

The US Office for Palestinian Affairs urged Israel “to evaluate all use of deadly force that involves civilian casualties.”

It echoed statements by the EU delegation to the Palestinians and the United Nations envoy for the Middle East peace process that called on Israel to hold accountable those responsible for al-Tamimi’s death.

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