Family members of a Palestinian American teenager who was fatally shot in the occupied West Bank demanded on Saturday that authorities discover the killer of the 17-year-old, who was hit by a barrage of gunfire, his cousin stated, as the two have been getting down to have a picnic close to their village.
The demise of the teenager, who the household recognized as Tawfic Abdel Jabbar, got here as tensions have been rising between Israel and the United States. The State Department confirmed that an American was killed in the West Bank on Friday with out releasing identification and referred to as on Israel to offer extra details about the demise.
Without naming the teenager or confirming his demise, Israeli police stated in an announcement on Saturday that they have been investigating the taking pictures. The police stated that an Israeli civilian and an off-duty policeman had fired at “individuals purportedly engaged in rock-throwing activities.”
The Israeli military was investigating whether or not a soldier was additionally concerned in the taking pictures, based on a navy spokesman. The navy and police didn’t reply to requests for remark past their preliminary statements.
A distant cousin, Mohammad Ejak, 16, stated Tawfic was shot whereas driving to a grove of olive timber owned by the household, a couple of 15-minute drive from their village of Al-Mazra’a ash Sharqiyeh, close to Ramallah.
“We did not throw any rocks at anyone’s car, and we didn’t even get out of our own car before the shots were fired at us,” stated a visibly shaken Mohammad, who attended the funeral. He stated he didn’t know the place the gunshots got here from and ducked beneath the dashboard when he heard the gunfire.
Tawfic was born to Palestinian mother and father and raised in a suburb of New Orleans, the place he attended the Muslim Academy Gretna Islamic School. The household, who’ve 4 different kids, determined to return to dwell in the occupied West Bank when Tawfic was 16, a couple of yr and a half in the past, relations stated.
“Where is my son’s killer?” asked Hafeth Abdel Jabbar, Tawfic’s father, throughout the funeral. “He is an American citizen who was shot in cold blood, and as an American, he should be protected.”
Nabil Abukhader, the principal of the Muslim Academy in Gretna, La., and the head of the native mosque that the household attended, stated the teenager had hoped to enhance his Arabic whereas in the West Bank.
He described him as a quiet, well mannered and “very respectful” teenager who helped his father along with his shoe and clothes shops and sometimes took his siblings to highschool. The younger man was planning to review enterprise administration at the University of New Orleans, to assist develop his father’s companies, stated Mr. Abukhader, who spoke with The New York Times from New Orleans.
The West Bank has been more and more on edge, as violence and Israeli navy raids have spiraled since the Oct. 7 Hamas assault on Israel. More than 340 Palestinians in the territory have been killed in clashes with Israeli troopers and civilians since Oct. 7, based on the United Nations. A two-day raid by the Israeli navy killed a minimum of eight individuals this week.
John Kirby, assistant to the secretary of protection for public affairs, stated in a state division briefing on Friday that the United States had prolonged its condolences to kinfolk of the American who was killed, with out immediately naming them, and was “working to understand the circumstances of the incident.”
“We’re seriously concerned about these reports,” Mr. Kirby stated. “The information is scant at this time. We don’t have perfect context about exactly what happened here.”
But, he added, “We’re going to be in constant touch with counterparts in the region to get more information.”
Anushka Patil and Gaya Gupta contributed reporting.