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U.S. teen fatally shot in West Bank by Israeli forces, Palestinian officials say

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A Palestinian-American teenager was shot and killed Friday by Israeli troops in the West Bank, Palestinian officials told Reuters.

The 17-year-old boy was shot during clashes with Israeli forces, the victim's uncle told Reuters.

A State Department spokesperson would only confirm to CBS News that a U.S. citizen had died in the West Bank, adding that "we are working to understand the circumstances of the incident and have asked the government of Israel for further information."

According to Wafa, the Palestinian National Authority's official news agency, the boy was shot in the head. Wafa identified him as Tawfiq Ajjaq.   

The Israeli Police Spokesperson's Unit said in a statement that on Friday afternoon that "an incident report was received concerning firearm discharge, ostensibly involving an off-duty law enforcement officer, a soldier, and a civilian." The "discharge was directed towards a perceived threat," described by the police statement as Palestinian individuals throwing rocks along a highway. 

"Additional information indicated the potential fatality of a 17-year-old Palestinian due to gunfire," the police statement said, adding that an investigation has been launched. 

The Israel Defense Forces told CBS News that an IDF soldier was present in the area, and that the "claim that the soldier fired at the Palestinian is under review." 

U.S. teen fatally shot in West Bank by Israeli forces, Palestinian officials say
Relatives of 17-year-old American-Palestinian who was shot by Israeli forces in the West Bank during a funeral ceremony near Ramallah in the West Bank on Jan. 20, 2024. Issam Rimawi/Anadolu via Getty Images

Wafa reported that the shooting occurred in the small Palestinian town al-Mazra'a ash-Sharqiya, east of Ramallah. A funeral was held Saturday, with Reuters news footage showing hundreds of Palestinian men marching the boy's body through the town. 

"Come here on the ground and see what is going on," the victim's father told reporters during the funeral. "Come here and test, see for your own eyes, what kind of life we are living here, what is the pressure they put us under…How many fathers and mothers have to say goodbye to their children. How many more?" 

Tensions in the West Bank have surged since Hamas launched its bloody Oct. 7 terrorist attack on southern Israel, sparking the Israel-Hamas war. 

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