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Two Palestinian youths lose their lives in West Bank amid Israeli military operation

Israeli forces reportedly killed four Palestinians, including two children, in the occupied West Bank during a raid, according to Palestinian officials. CCTV footage appeared to capture the shooting of eight-year-old Adam al-Ghoul and 14-year-old Basel Abu al-Wafa in the city of Jenin. The Israeli military claimed that suspects threw explosive devices at its soldiers, prompting a response with live fire. The military also stated that two “high-ranking terrorists” were killed during the raid. The West Bank has witnessed increased violence since the beginning of the conflict in the Gaza Strip, triggered by Hamas’s attack on southern Israel on October 7.

A security camera recording captures a small figure abruptly turning and sprinting before taking a sharp fall to the ground. The eight-year-old’s body is easily pulled from the road by a companion.

In Jenin on Wednesday, Adam al-Ghoul’s life came to an end with a headshot as Israeli forces concluded a military operation in the nearby refugee camp. Meanwhile, his 14-year-old friend, Basel Abu al-Wafa, fought for his life after sustaining a chest wound amid gunfire hitting the ground around him.

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Both boys were declared dead at Jenin Hospital. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) stated that during “activity in the Jenin camp, several suspects hurled explosive devices toward IDF soldiers.” The soldiers, in response, engaged with live fire, resulting in identified hits on the suspects.

In the crowded hospital morgue, Basel’s body was prepared for burial while a relative was observed. The teenager was wrapped in the green flag of Hamas, a gesture that conflicted with Basel’s wishes, according to the relative who spoke to the BBC.

“He’s innocent, not from the militias,” the relative asserted, expressing a mix of anger and grief. “He’s perfect in school, a good boy, kind.”

Dr. Wissam Bakr, the hospital director, indicated that the intentional nature of the killings was evident from the boys’ wounds, inflicted by shots to the head and chest. “There’s no safe place in Jenin now,” he added.

The ongoing conflict in Gaza has heightened tensions in the West Bank, where nightly raids by Israeli forces have become commonplace. During overnight operations in Jenin, the IDF reported the killing of a senior commander for Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Mohammed Zubeidi, along with another figure, Wissam Hanoun, who was inside the same building. The IDF accused Zubeidi of involvement in two shootings in May that resulted in the death of an Israeli civilian and injuries to several soldiers.

Confirming the deaths of its local commanders, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, classified as a terrorist group by Israel, the UK, and other Western powers, acknowledged the losses. Additionally, the IDF reported the arrest of 17 wanted individuals during the raid.

The aftermath of Israeli missile strikes, grenades, and explosives in Jenin’s camp is evident in the extensive destruction—several homes reduced to ruins, large sections of masonry precariously hanging over piles of debris.

Amid the wreckage, excavators were deployed to assist in the search for a body believed to still be buried beneath the rubble.

The targets in this assault included militant leaders, but tragically, the casualties also encompassed boys aged eight and 14.

Prior to the Jenin raid, the UN reported that Israeli forces had claimed the lives of at least 225 Palestinians in the West Bank since October 7, with more than 50 of them being children.

Adam and Basel are the latest victims in a conflict that persists, taking a toll on lives, even those of children.

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