In Israel’s new air war in the West Bank, nearly half the dead are children

In Israel’s new air war in the West Bank, nearly half the dead are children

The Intercept reports:

Around 9.30 PM in late February, a white Mazda pulled up near a game cafe in the Jenin refugee camp on the northern edge of the West Bank, where a crowd of boys and young men often gathered to socialize.

As the car stopped, a few people walked by on the narrow street. Two motorbikes weaved past in different directions. “Everything was fine at the time,” according to an eyewitness sitting nearby in the camp’s main square.

Then the car erupted in a ball of flame. Two missiles fired from an Israeli drone had hit the Mazda in quick succession, as shown in a video the Israeli Air Force posted that night.

According to the IAF, the strike killed Yasser Hanoun, described as “a wanted terrorist.”

But Hanoun was not the only fatality: 16-year old Said Raed Said Jaradat, who was near the vehicle when it was hit, sustained shrapnel wounds all over his body, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International-Palestine. He died from his injuries at 1 a.m. the next morning.

Jaradat is one of 24 children killed in Israel’s airstrikes on the West Bank since last summer, when the Israeli forces began deploying drones, planes, and helicopters to carry out attacks in the occupied territory for the first time in decades.

The world’s attention has been on the Israeli campaign in Gaza, which has killed at least 36,000 people — including more than 15,000 children — and prompted accusations of genocide from U.N. officials and at the International Court of Justice. In the name of eliminating Hamas in retaliation for the attacks in October, the Israeli military action in the Gaza Strip continues.

But Israel has also transformed its tactics in the West Bank. Since June of last year, and with increasing regularity during the Gaza offensive, the Israel Defense Forces have shown a new willingness to use air power in the West Bank, regardless of the collateral damage to children and other civilians caught in the blasts. [Continue reading…]

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