September 17, 2018 / 1:18 PM / 3 months ago

Palestinian ministry rolls back statement that Gaza boy was killed by Israeli gunfire

The mother of 11-year-old Palestinian boy Shadi Abdel-Al, who was killed by Israeli forces during a protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence, is comforted as she mourns during his funeral in the northern Gaza Strip September 15, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

GAZA (Reuters) - A medical source in the Palestinian Health Ministry backed away on Monday from an assertion that an 11-year-old boy killed at a protest on Friday at the border with Israel had been shot by Israeli soldiers.

“The boy died of a head injury,” said the source, who asked not be identified, declining to give specifics and stopping short of attributing the death to Israeli gunfire.

On Friday, Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesman for the Health Ministry in Gaza, said the youth, Shadi Abdel-Al, had been shot dead by Israeli troops.

Two other Palestinians were killed during the weekly protest by Israeli live fire, local medics said on Friday.

An Israeli military spokeswoman, asked on Monday about the circumstances of the boy’s death and media reports that he had been killed by a stone thrown during the protest, referred Reuters to comments tweeted by the military’s Arabic-language spokesman.

The spokesman tweeted that there were “increasing indicators from Gaza that question the credibility” of the Palestinian Health Ministry’s original statement about the boy’s death.

“According to the indicators and testimonies, the boy was killed as a result of an injury from stones thrown during the violent riots,” the spokesman wrote.

Since March 30, Palestinians pressing claims against Israel have mounted stone-throwing protests that have included attempts to breach the Israeli border fence with Gaza, run by the Islamist group Hamas.

Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi, Stephan Farrell and Jeffrey Heller; Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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