Footage has emerged of Israeli forces dragging a distressed young boy away from his home.
Israeli soldiers dragged an eight-year-old Palestinian boy through Hebron to identify other children who had allegedly thrown stones at a nearby illegal settlement, a video released yesterday by Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem shows.
Sufian Abu Hitah was taken barefoot from outside his home at around midday on 19 March.
Hitah was wandering barefoot outside his house in Hebron looking for a toy he had lost, when a group of at least 15 soldiers seized him
B’Tselem said in a statement.
The soldiers then grabbed the boy, who was visibly distressed throughout the ordeal, “and dragged him to the Al-Harika neighbourhood where they demanded that he point out children who had allegedly thrown stones and a Molotov cocktail at the Kiryat Arba settlement earlier on.”
Hitah had just arrived at his grandparents’ home only to realise that he had lost his toy on the way, he went out to look for it although his mother had banned him from doing so as she knew soldiers were patrolling the area.
Only a few minutes later children rushed to Hitah’s granparents’ home to tell them that soldiers had taken him away.
“I saw more than 15 soldiers surrounding Sufian. Two of them were holding him by both arms and dragging him towards the gate of Kiryat Arba. A few neighbours had already gathered in the street and were trying to rescue Sufian from the soldiers,” Hitah’s mother, Amani, told B’Tselem.
She pleaded with soldiers to return her son but they refused saying:
if you want to get him back, convince him to tell us the names of the children who were throwing stones.
She tried to explain that they were only visitors in the area and didn’t know the local children; however the soldiers ignored her and continued to drag her son around by his arms.
Sufian was shaking with fear. I saw him talk to the soldiers and tell them that he doesn’t know anything, but it didn’t help
Amani said, adding that soldiers dragged her son into the home of Muhammad Al-Nahnush.
“When they came out, about five minutes later, Sufian was crying. They didn’t arrest anyone in that house. I didn’t know whether they beat Sufian while they were in there, or what happened inside. I was really scared and worried about Sufian. I started crying and ran after the soldiers as they moved from house to house, to try and get them to let him go.”
When the soldiers reached Jabal Juhar Street, a number of women gathered around the solders and “eventually, more than an hour after the incident began, they managed to extricate Sufian and return him to his mother,” B’Tselem said.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that “following initial review of the incident, it was concluded that a Molotov cocktail was thrown towards the community of Kiryat Arba. Forces who were called to the scene caught a suspect. Due to the fact the suspect was a minor, he was taken to his parent’s home. It was noted in the initial review that the forces did not ask the minor to direct them to any other suspects.”
This work by Middle East Monitor