The victim’s family, Zaid Saeed Ghuneim, said the teenager had just finished dinner and was on his way to his grandparents’ house when he was shot. His brother, Yazan Ghuneim, told CNN that his brother was hiding in a garage when he was cornered by Israeli soldiers.
“They shot him twice in the leg, two in the back and one in the neck. They killed him,” Jhunim told CNN at the family home. “He was my best friend. A nice, peaceful boy who wanted to help everyone.”
An eyewitness to the shooting, Um Muhammad al-Wash, showed CNN a video he had taken shortly after the incident. The footage shows blood clots on the floor of a parking garage and stains all over a car. According to Umm Muhammad, she saw Zayed Saeed Ghunim running into the garage and heard him begging for her life.
“I did nothing! Don’t shoot me!” He told CNN.
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, Ghuneim was rushed to hospital with bullet wounds to the neck and back. The doctors could not save him.
In a statement to CNN, the Israeli military said several soldiers were conducting “regular security operations” in the al-Khad area of Bethlehem when “suspects threw stones and Molotov cocktails at soldiers, endangering their lives.”
As the assailants chased them, soldiers responded with live fire, with one of the suspects wounded, according to the Israeli military. The statement added that soldiers provided first aid at the scene before the wounded were transferred to the Palestinian Red Crescent. The incident is now under review. The statement did not name Zaid Saeed Ghuneim.
According to human rights group B’Tselem, Israeli forces maintain an “open fire policy” in the West Bank, which allows the use of live ammunition in minor security incidents, such as isolated rock throwing. The policy has resulted in several deaths, B’Tselem said, adding that two Palestinian teenagers were shot dead in Bethlehem in February this year.
CNN’s Abir Salman reports from Bethlehem and Atika Schubert in Jerusalem.