Two Palestinian boys killed during Israeli raid in West Bank

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Basel Abu al-Wafa’s body was wrapped in a Hamas flag – something a relative said he would not have wanted
By Lucy Williamson & David Gritten
BBC News, in Jenin and London

Four Palestinians, including two children, have been killed by Israeli forces during a raid in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian officials say.

CCTV videos appeared to show eight-year-old Adam al-Ghoul and Basel Abu al-Wafa, 14, being shot during the same incident in the city of Jenin.

The Israeli military said suspects threw explosive devices at its soldiers and that they responded with live fire.

It also said troops killed “two high-ranking terrorists” during the raid.

There has been a surge in violence in the West Bank since the start of the war in the Gaza Strip, triggered by Hamas’s attack on southern Israel on 7 October.

Several buildings were destroyed during the Israeli operation in Jenin and its refugee camp

Footage shows a small figure on a security camera video turning and starting to run, before falling sharply to the ground. His eight-year-old body is easily dragged from the road by a friend.

The life of Adam al-Ghoul ended in Jenin on Wednesday with a shot to the head, as Israeli forces withdrew from a military operation in the refugee camp there.

Nearby, his 14-year-old friend, Basel Abu al-Wafa was fighting for his life after being shot in the chest, with gunfire hitting the ground around him.

At Jenin Hospital, both boys were declared dead.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement that during “activity in the Jenin camp, a number of suspects hurled explosive devices toward IDF soldiers”.

“The soldiers responded with live fire toward the suspects and hits were identified.”

As Basel’s body was prepared for burial in the crowded hospital morgue, a relative watched as the teenager was wrapped in the green flag of Hamas. It wasn’t what Basel would have wanted, he told the BBC.

“He’s innocent, not from the militias,” he said, teetering between anger and grief. “He’s perfect in school, a good boy, kind.”

The hospital director, Dr Wissam Bakr, said the boys’ wounds – from shots to the head and chest – showed that they were intentionally killed.

“There’s no safe place in Jenin now,” he said.

The war in Gaza has increased tensions here in the West Bank, where there are near-nightly raids by Israel’s forces.

In its operations in Jenin overnight, the IDF said it had killed a senior commander for Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Mohammed Zubeidi, and another called Wissam Hanoun who had been inside a building with him.

It accused Zubeidi of involvement in two shootings in May in which an Israeli civilian was killed and several soldiers were wounded.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad – which like Hamas is classed as a terrorist group by Israel, the UK and other Western powers – confirmed that two of its local commanders were killed.

The IDF also said it had arrested 17 wanted individuals during the raid.

Palestinian media reported that a car was destroyed in an Israeli drone strike

Israeli missiles, grenades and explosives have left a broad scar of destruction in Jenin’s camp – several houses gutted or collapsed, and large chunks of masonry hanging over mounds of rubble.

Diggers were helping search for a body still believed to be buried there.

Militant leaders were the target here, killed along with boys of eight and 14.

Before the Jenin raid, the UN said that at least 225 Palestinians, including more than 50 children, had been killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank since 7 October.

Adam and Basel are the latest casualties of a conflict that keeps getting older, even as children die.

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