A 16-year-old Palestinian boy was shot dead by Israeli forces at a checkpoint in the West Bank town of Jenin. He was allegedly trying to stab a private security guard at a checkpoint according to Israeli authorities.
The Palestinian health ministry confirmed that Mohammed Zakarna was killed on Saturday (24 October). Israeli police said in a statement: "A terrorist, who arrived armed with a knife, tried to stab a security guard at the site. In response, the terrorist was shot by the security force at the scene and killed," according to AFP news agency.
However, witnesses gave conflicting accounts of what happened. One person reported that he saw Zakarna running towards Israelis with a knife, who then shot him. However, another eyewitness said the boy, who worked as a sweet seller, was on the Palestinian side of the checkpoint when he was fatally wounded.
A Palestinian Red Crescent worker said the Israeli army stopped an ambulance from accessing the site, according to an Al Jazeera report. He added that Zakarna was transported to the Israeli side of the checkpoint, where an Israeli ambulance arrived to take him to hospital.
The latest fatality comes as John Kerry, US Secretary of State meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as part of an international diplomatic effort to deal with the continuing Israeli-Palestinian violence. He has reportedly said he would like to see clarity in the rules over access to a Jerusalem holy site – the Temple Mount or Haram al-Sharif – which is the focus of the recent tensions.
Speaking after Kerry's meeting, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said that the two men "had a very in-depth and constructive meeting." After talks with Abbas and King Abdullah of Jordan in Amman, Kerry will then travel to Saudi Arabia for talks with regional leaders.