Family members of a Palestinian American teenager who was fatally shot in the occupied West Bank demanded on Saturday that the authorities find the killer of the 17-year-old, who was hit by a barrage of gunfire, his cousin said, as the two were setting out to have a picnic near their village.
The death of the teenager, whom the family identified as Tawfic Abdel Jabbar, came 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 without releasing identification and called on Israel to provide more information about the death.
Without naming the teenager or confirming his death, the Israeli police said in a statement on Saturday that they were investigating the shooting. The police said that an Israeli civilian and an off-duty policeman had fired at “individuals purportedly engaged in rock-throwing activities.”
The Israeli Army was investigating whether a soldier was also involved in the shooting, according to a military spokesman. The military and the police did not respond to requests for comment beyond their initial statements.
A distant cousin, Mohammad Ejak, 16, said Tawfic was shot while driving to a grove of olive trees owned by the family, about a 15-minute drive from their village, Al-Mazra’a ash Sharqiyeh, near 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,” said a visibly shaken Mohammad, who attended Tawfic’s funeral on Saturday. Mohammad said he did not know where the gunshots came from and ducked below the dashboard when he heard the gunfire.