The family of the victim, Zaid Saeed Guneim, said the teen had just finished lunch and was on his way to his grandparents’ house when he was shot. His brother Yazan Guneim told CNN that his brother was hiding in the garage when Israeli soldiers cornered him.
“They put two bullets in his legs, two in his back and one in his neck. They killed him,” Guneim told CNN at the family home. “He was my best friend. A sweet, peaceful boy who wanted to help everyone.”
An eyewitness to the shooting, Um Muhammad Al Wahsh, showed CNN a video she took immediately after the incident. The footage shows blood smeared on the floor of the garage and on the car. According to Um Mohammed, she saw Zaid Saeed Guneim run into the garage and heard him plead for his life.
“He screamed and kept repeating: “I didn’t do anything! Don’t shoot me!” she told CNN.
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, Guneim was taken to hospital with bullet wounds to his neck and back. The doctors were unable to save his life.
In a statement provided to CNN, the Israeli military said several soldiers in the Al-Khader neighborhood of Bethlehem were conducting “routine security activities” in the area, with “suspects throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at the soldiers, putting their lives in danger.” .
While chasing the attackers, the Israeli soldiers opened fire, wounding one of the suspects, the Israeli military said. The statement added that the soldiers provided initial medical attention at the scene before handing over the wounded to the Palestinian Red Crescent. The incident is currently under review. The statement does not mention the name of Zaid Said Guneim.
According to the human rights group B’Tselem, Israeli forces also maintain an “open fire policy” in the West Bank, allowing the use of live ammunition even in the event of minor security incidents such as single stone-throwing. The policy has resulted in several deaths, B’Tselem said, including two Palestinian teenagers who were gunned down in Bethlehem in February this year.
This was reported by CNN correspondent Abir Salman from Bethlehem and Atika Schubert in Jerusalem.