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Wednesday 19 June, 2024
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Palestinian boy Rayan Suleiman died from ‘fear’ of Israeli forces

BY Anas Shah Sep 30, 2022. 06:24 pm UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022. 06:24 pm

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A group of men carrying the body of a young Palestinian kid who was believed to have died from terror of Israeli soldiers in armed combat marched through a West Bank community on Friday in search of the boy’s final resting place.

Rayan Suleiman, who has bright eyes and a rucksack with an animated racing car on it, was reportedly being pursued by Israeli forces on Thursday as he and his brothers were walking home from school.

The army pounded on the door frantically and threatened to arrest the lads when they fled from the house. The youngest of the three brothers, Rayan, passed away just a short while later.

Mohammed Suleiman, Rayan’s cousin, told Al Jazeera that Rayan was pursued by the troops who were shouting at him as soon as he arrived at his home.

“The soldiers shouted at him that he’s [a] stone thrower,” he said. “He ran away from one side, and the soldier met him from the other side [of the house]. Rayan saw the soldier in front of him, and was shocked and dropped dead out of fear,” he said.

Israeli soldiers were “moving in all directions hunting for any child they could locate,” according to Hadeel Salman, a neighbour and eyewitness.

“The soldiers even summoned my young brother – they told him he threw stones at them and needed to be arrested,” Salman told Al Jazeera. “He insisted he had nothing to do with it.”

As word of the incident circulated throughout the West Bank, anger against Israel’s military strategies gained an emotional focus.

While the European Union expressed outrage over Rayan’s “tragic death,” the US State Department urged an investigation.

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Overnight, images of Rayan’s little, lifeless body in the hospital, covered by a sheet, became a forceful new emblem. His passing occurred the day following the bloodiest Israeli incursion since the military increased its crackdown on several West Bank areas earlier this year.

The Israeli military has denied any violence in the interaction with Rayan’s family, saying that just one officer went to the family’s house after spotting children throwing stones.

Richard Hecht, a military spokesman, said the officer spoke in a “very calm manner” with Rayan’s father and left.

“There was no violence, no entry into the house,” Hecht said.

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