A seven-year-old Palestinian boy who died on the sidelines of an Israeli army search in the occupied West Bank was buried on Friday, with Washington calling for a “thorough” investigation into his death.
Rayan Yasser Suleiman’s body was wrapped in a keffiyeh chequered Palestinian headscarf, as hundreds of people took part in a funeral procession through his hometown of Tuqu near Bethlehem.
According to an account from the boy’s cousin, Mohammed Suleiman, Rayan had “run and fallen” on Thursday after returning from school to find soldiers inside and outside his home. He was taken to nearby Beit Jala hospital where he was declared dead, the cousin said.
The incident came a day after four Palestinians were killed in an Israeli army raid in the northern West Bank city of Jenin. The Palestinian foreign ministry said Suleiman died after falling from a building “while being chased by Israeli occupation forces”.
The Israeli army said its soldiers had searched the area after “a number of Palestinians hurled rocks toward civilians”. But an “initial inquiry shows no connection between the searches conducted by the IDF (army) in the area and the tragic death of the child”, it said.
The US State Department said it supported “a thorough and immediate investigation into the circumstances” of the death.
Clashes erupted with militants when the army entered Jenin to apprehend Abed Hazem, the brother of Raad Hazem who killed three Israelis in a shooting spree in Tel Aviv’s busy nightlife district in April.
Israel has occupied the West Bank since the Six-Day War of 1967.