On 9 February, an Israeli soldier shot 14-year-old Mohammed Nubani in the eye with a rubber-coated metal bullet, from a distance of 20 metres. https://t.co/wzwQDEa8k3— Ben White (@benabyad) March 9, 2018
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) troops shot a 14-year-old Palestinian boy in the eye, costing him his eyesight.
The incident occurred as the soldiers clashed with a group of teenagers, who were throwing stones during a protest against illegal military occupation at Ambassadors Garden, a relatively well-kept playground, which forms the northern entrance of El-Bireh, a city neighboring Ramallah in the West Bank.
Mohammed Nubani was standing near the area where about 20 or so IDF soldiers attacked Palestinian teenagers with all sorts of ammunition — live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear-gas grenades.
Suddenly, a rubber-coated bullet shot Mohammed in the eye.
According to Israeli forces, the action took place to “disperse the disrupting demonstration.”
Mohammed was immediately taken to a nearby hospital in Ramallah via a Palestinian ambulance. The hospital did not have an ophthalmology department, so after preliminary treatment, he was moved to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus where the bullet was removed after a three-hour operation.
Mohammed recalled the incident in a statement; “I was standing there and suddenly I felt something hit me hard in the face. I didn’t shout, I didn’t cry, but it really hurt.”
When the victim’s mother was informed that he had been shot in the eye, she was reportedly “relieved that he is still alive.”
Despite the child’s parents’ desperate efforts, his eyesight is now doomed with the rubber bullet possibly destroying an optic nerve. They took their half-blind boy to a British eye specialist who works at a clinic in Anabta but to no avail.
Mohammed’s parents have yet to inform the teen that he will never see from one eye again. They are holding onto the news a while so he “doesn’t lose hope.”
The teenager has resumed school but is in constant pain and has trouble doing basic navigation throughout the day.
An official statement made by the IDF spokesperson stated, “On February 9, 2018, there was a public disturbance at the ‘Ayosh’ Circle, within the purview of the Binyamin Division. The force took measures to disperse the demonstration. We are not aware of any claim of a Palestinian being wounded. In the event that additional information is received, it will be checked out in depth.”
Nasser Shehadeh, a family friend of the victim, stated even though the wound will heal, Mohammed’s lost eyesight will have far graver effects on the teen: “Think what feelings he will develop against those who shot him in the eye — what he will feel when he grows up. Only when the occupation ends will we all see with two eyes.”
This attack coincides with a recorded pattern of IDF soldiers assaulting Palestinian minors, resulting in lifelong injuries and casualties.
Thumbnail/ Banner Credits: Ammar Awad/ Reuters