Two of three seriously injured 18-year-old Palestinians were transferred to a hospital in Israel on Monday evening, medical sources said, four days after Israeli forces opened fire on them in the central occupied West Bank in a shooting that left another teenager dead.
Jassem Muhammad Nakhla, Muhammad Hattab, and Muhammad Moussa Nakhla remained in critical condition, sources at the Palestine Medical Complex in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah -- where the youth had initially been treated -- told Ma’an.
Immediately following the shooting, the Palestinian Ministry of Health stated that Jassem Nakhla had been shot in the head and foot, while Muhammad Hattab was shot in the abdomen, and Muhammad Moussa Nakhla was shot in the chest, foot and shoulder.
Palestine Medical Complex Director Ahmad Bitawi told Ma’an on Tuesday that two of the young men had been transferred to a hospital in Tel Aviv, while Muhammad Hattab remained in the intensive care unit in the Ramallah hospital.
The Israeli Civil Administration released a statement saying that it had coordinated the transfer of two of the Palestinian youths, accompanied by two Palestinian doctors and an unspecified number of relatives, to the Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv.
A spokesperson for the Ichilov medical center confirmed to Ma'an that Jassem and Muhammad Nakhla were the two Palestinians who were currently being treated in the Israeli hospital.
The Civil Administration added that the two youths were in serious condition, and reiterated contested Israeli army claims that the Palestinians had been "involved in riots" when they were shot.
Israeli forces shot at the young Palestinian men, all residents of the al-Jalazun refugee camp in the Ramallah district of the West Bank, in contested circumstances on Thursday, with 17-year-old Muhammad Mahmoud Ibrahim al-Hattab succumbing to his wounds that same evening after being shot in the chest and shoulder.
Local sources told Ma'an at the time of the deadly shooting that Israeli soldiers in a military tower near the entrance of the camp, which is located adjacent to the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El, fired heavily towards the teens’ vehicle while they were inside.
An Israeli army spokesperson claimed that the boys were throwing Molotov cocktails at the settlement, and that they were outside of their car when they were shot.
However, video and photographic footage taken by locals at the scene following the shooting showed the vehicle riddled with bullets, windows shattered, and blood staining the seats, casting doubt on the Israeli army’s narrative of the event.
When questioned by Ma’an about how the teens could have re-entered their car and driven away from the scene after being injured with multiple rounds of live fire to the head and chest, the Israeli army spokesperson said she could not comment.
Muhammad Mahmoud al-Hattab was the 15th Palestinian to be confirmed killed by Israeli forces this year, and marked the third time that Israeli forces fatally shot a Palestinian minor since the beginning of 2017.
In all three instances when Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian minor this year, the Israeli army claimed that the teenagers were throwing Molotov cocktails.
However, the Israeli version of events was heavily contested, especially in the case of 17-year-old Qusay Hassan al-Umour, who was killed in January, as video evidence and investigations led rights groups to brand the incident an unlawful and unjustified killing.
In many cases, Israel’s version of events has been disputed by witnesses, activists, and rights groups who have denounced what they have termed a "shoot-to-kill" policy against Palestinians who did not constitute a threat at the time of their death, or who could have been subdued in a non-lethal manner -- amid a backdrop of impunity for Israelis who committed the killings.