The 10-year-old child, Yahia Al-Amoodi, on Wednesday was the third child during the last 7 months to be shot in the eye by Israeli black-tipped sponge bullets, which are used against Jerusalemite civilians regularly.
In his statement to the Defense for Children International Palestine (DCIP), the child’s father said that his son had left the house in the afternoon of 11 May in order to collect his sister from the Kindergarten. On his way, he stopped approximately 100 meters from his home in Shu’fat refugee camp to watch a group of children gathered in the street. There, he was suddenly shot in the eye.
Yahia’s father added that one of the soldiers, based on the third floor of an unfinished building opposite the camp checkpoint, shot at the child’s upper body. The child fell, bleeding, when another soldier, on the sidewalk opposite the building, shot him directly in his left eye from a distance of 35 meters. His father indicated the absolute lack of clashes in the area at the time.
After the unprovoked attack, Yehia lost his left eye and a glass eye was substituted. He also suffered severe fractions to his skull and jaw, where doctors had to insert platinum plates.
Yehia is still receiving treatment in Hadassa Ain Karem hospital, Jerusalem. He has undergone three surgeries up until now, and will have to receive food intravenously for 6-12 weeks. His father added that he also suffers from speech difficulties.
The Defense for Children International Palestine (DCIP) documented two similar cases of children who lost their eyes due to black-tipped sponge bullets.
Zacharia Joulani (13) from Shu’fat camp on 31 March was shot near the same site as Yehia, and Saleh Mahmoud (12) from Issawiya neighborhood, lost his right eye and sustained major damage to the left after he was shot on 11 November last year.
Mohammed Sinnokrot (16) died on 7 September last year of wounds he had sustained on 31 August. He had been shot in the right side of his head, causing skull fractures and a cerebral hemorrhage, according to media reports.
Black-tipped sponge bullets, according to Haaretz investigation, were heavier and more dangerous in comparison to the blue bullets which IOF have used previously.
The investigation showed that the Israeli police in Jerusalem started using these bullets last year, and that the army began to use them months before regulations were put in place regarding their usage.
In addition to violating human rights in the shooting of children, the IOF have also violated their own regulations: the use of these bullets was only legalized in January 2015, and the minimum distance for firing is 10 meters.
The report added that the use of this kind of bullet is banned in several situations including the targeting of seniors, children and pregnant women. It is only permitted during protests, after the confirmation of the person’s identity, and must not target the upper body.
All reports indicated that the IOF have not committed to any of their own regulations for using this weapon.