A boy of 15 has died after being shot in the back apparently during clashes between Israeli soldiers and stone-throwing Palestinian youths in the occupied West Bank
By Robert Tait, Jalazoun
A 15-year-old Palestinian boy apparently shot in the back as he ran away from Israeli soldiers was the victim of a "cold-blooded assassination" that damages the already faltering Middle East process, Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority (PA) leader has said.
Wajih Wajdi al-Ramahi was shot outside Jalazoun refugee camp, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, eye-witnesses said. He was taken to hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.
The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) says it is conducting an investigation into Saturday's incident, partly to establish whether Wajih was short by one of its soldiers.
Mr Abbas put the blame squarely on Israel.
"This was a cold-blooded assassination perpetrated by the occupation regime," he said in a statement issued by his office. "The Government of Israel bears responsibility for this organized terror against innocent children ... This policy is destructive for the peace process."
There were conflicting accounts of the death at a mourning ceremony on Sunday inside the camp, which is north of Ramallah.
The dead boy's father, also called Wajih, who works in the PA prime minister's office, said his son had been shot "like a bird" without pretext by an Israeli sniper outside a supermarket, where he had gone to buy Coca-Cola.
That was contradicted by several youths who said they had been present at the shooting. They claimed Wajih was among a group of 17 youths playing football in the yard of a nearby school, run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.
The youths claimed they had left the school en mass to retrieve the ball after it was kicked outside the yard towards an army watchtower, which guards the nearby Jewish settlement of Beit El. They came under fire from one of a group of soldiers stationed below the tower who began shooting unprovoked, they said.
However, Abdul Aziz Abu Hadba, 29, owner of the Al-Amal supermarket, which is near the school, said the shooting happened during clashes between Israeli forces and stone-throwing Palestinian youths. The confrontations had forced him to close his store, he said, pointing to a bullet hole in the shop front.
"They were throwing stones at the army," he told The Telegraph, standing near a spot strewn with rocks and the ashes of a recent bonfire . "There are frequent clashes here and I close the door when it happens because the army shoots stun bullets in front of the shop."
Mohammed Ramahi, 15, the dead boy's cousin, acknowledged that Wajih "sometimes" threw stones at the army.
An IDF spokesman confirmed soldiers were in the area at the time "on a routine mission to stop Palestinian rock throwers".
Some 17 Palestinians and four Israelis have been killed in violent incidents since peace talks, brokered by John Kerry, the US secretary of state, re-started in the summer.