Relatives of 13-year-old Palestinian boy Ahmed Sharaka, who was killed by Israeli troops during clashes on Sunday. Image Credit: REUTERS

Ramallah: Israeli occupation forces shot dead a Palestinian youth on Monday on the premise that he had his hands in his pockets and therefore posed a security risk. The incident occurred near Al Haram Al Sharif in occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli police claimed to have acted under the threat of an attempted knife attack.

Sources in occupied East Jerusalem said that Mustafa Al Khatib, 18, a grade 12 student of Al Ebrahimia School was on his way to the Lion’s Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City from the side of the Muslim Cemetery in the early morning. Palestinian sources said it was a chilly and windy day prompting Al Khatib to put his hands in his pockets to keep warm. An Israeli police officer ordered him from a distance to take his hands out of his pockets but even before he could do so the police forces opened fire and shot him 10 times in various parts of his body.

The sources stressed that Al Khatib, from the Sour Baher neighbourhood of the holy city did not have a knife on him. “Israeli military forces have been killing Palestinians on no grounds at all. Palestinians are being executed in cold blood only because they are Palestinians,” the sources told Gulf News.

“Israeli police opened heavy fire on the Palestinian man as a police officer suspected something was amiss,” reported the Israeli news site, Times of Israel.

Following Al Khatib’s killing, Israeli forces sealed off all the gates of the Old City of Jerusalem and strictly denied access to Palestinians.

Meanwhile, a general strike was observed across the West Bank city of Ramallah on Monday to attend the funeral of a Palestinian boy, Ahmad Abdullah Sharaqa, who was shot in the neck during clashes with the occupation forces on Sunday evening in Al Beirah town of Ramallah.

Sharaqa, 12, from Al Jalazoun Refugee Camp had been in an extremely critical condition in hospital before he succumbed to his injuries.

Sources in Ramallah said that Sharaqa was among a few young Palestinians staging a minor protest when an Israeli sniper aimed his gun at Sharaqa’s head and hit him from a short range.

Residents of occupied Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza and Palestinians living in 1948 areas fear a spiral into a full-scale third intifada amid the rising tensions in the occupied areas.

The Palestinian Health Ministry announced late on Sunday that 50 Palestinians were wounded by live bullets in fierce clashes that erupted near the Howara checkpoint in Nablus after students of Al Najah National University took part in a major protest. The ministry said that 24 other students of the Palestine Technical University (Khadouri) were hospitalised after being struck by live bullets.

Protests were reported in various other areas of the West Bank, Jerusalem, and within Israel overnight. Israeli soldiers also rounded up more than 200 Palestinians as part of a widespread campaign of arrests. A long list of wanted Palestinians has been passed on to Israeli soldiers at checkpoints. The Palestinian Prisoners’ Club has operated a toll-free hotline to report detentions around the Palestinian territories.