Israeli forces, Tel Aviv shooting.jpg
Photograph: EPA/JIM HOLLANDER

Israeli soldiers chasing rock throwers opened fire at an uninvolved Palestinian car early Tuesday, killing a 15-year-old boy and injuring four others, officials said.

An Israeli military spokeswoman in Tel Aviv admitted that the shot Palestinians were innocent passers-by mistakenly targeted by soldiers who believed they were chasing a group of Palestinians involved in a rock and firebomb attack at Israeli motorists.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry quickly condemned the shooting as another allegedly deliberate "field execution," saying it brought to 220 the number of Palestinians killed in a wave of violence since October.

The Ministry said the shooting came at a time when the "extreme-right government" of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was rejecting and foiling all international efforts to revive a "serious and genuine peace process," including a French initiative.

Israel says that the vast majority of Palestinian killed are assailants, shot while attacking or trying to attack Israelis in 290 stabbings, shootings, vehicle and other attacks. Thirty-three Israelis have been killed in the attacks.

Witnesses said Mahmoud Badran, 15, from a village west of Ramallah, and the other Palestinians had been on their way home before dawn from the iftar meal, which breaks the fast of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan after dark, when their car suddenly came under fire.  

The Israeli military added that three civilians were injured in the massive stone-throwing attack on road 443 around Jerusalem, which partly passes through the West Bank.

Witnesses said a dozen cars were damaged in the attack. 

They said masked Palestinians pelted Israeli motorists with large rocks and Molotov cocktails after pouring oil on the road, injuring three people - one Israeli and a tourist couple. 

"Nearby forces acted in order to protect additional passing vehicles from immediate danger and fired towards suspects," the military spokeswoman said, adding: "It appears that uninvolved bystanders were mistakenly hit during the pursuit."

She said the Israeli army was investigating the incident.

Meanwhile, a large Israeli force drove into a village near the West Bank town of Qalqiliya and demolished the family home of a Palestinian knife attacker, who had killed an American tourist and injured a dozen passers-by in a March stabbing spree in Tel Aviv.

Bashar Masalha, 22, started stabbing people in the ancient port of Jaffa in the south of the city, after which he ran northwards along the seaside promenade and stabbed more, until he was shot dead. 

Rights group slam the Israeli policy of demolishing militants' homes as a form of "collective punishment," which is considered illegal under international law.

Israel's right-wing government insists it is one of the few means at its disposal to deter potential attackers willing to sacrifice their own lives to kill Israelis to resist the occupation.

Left-liberal critics inside Israel warn the measure may be counterproductive as it only angers Palestinians.

Latest news

Reports: 12 injured as car runs into crowd at New Orleans parade

Twelve people were injured Saturday in the US city of New Orleans when a car struck a crowd watching a parade, local media reported.

"Moonlight" big winner at independent film awards

The coming-of-age drama "Moonlight" won six prizes including best feature at the 32nd Film Independent Spirit Awards Saturday, claiming the Hollywood spotlight on the eve of the Oscars.

Trump: I won't attend White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

US President Donald Trump said Saturday that he does not plan to attend the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year.

US Democratic Party chooses Tom Perez to be next party chief

The US Democratic Party elected former labour secretary Tom Perez as its next party chief at a meeting in Atlanta on Saturday.

73-year-old man dies after car ramming in Germany

A 73-year-old male pedestrian died from his injuries after being run over when a car rammed into people in the south-western town of Heidelberg, police said Saturday.

Syrian government vows retribution for Homs attacks that killed 42

The Syrian government vowed retribution for synchronized attacks on Saturday in Homs City that left 42 security personnel dead and reportedly involved up to six suicide bombers.

Between 250,000 and 300,000 Croatians suffer from rare diseases

Rare Disease Day, observed on February 28, was marked in Zagreb's Cvjetni Trg Square on Saturday.

German police shoot man who rammed car into pedestrians in Heidelberg

Police in Germany shot a man who rammed a car into pedestrians in the south-western town of Heidelberg on Saturday.

Egypt's al-Sissi orders cabinet to help Christians fleeing Sinai

Egypt's president Abdel Fattah al-Sissi ordered the government on Saturday to take all necessary measures to help Christians who escaped northern Sinai after the Islamic State militia killed at least six of them over the past month.

SDP MP calls on citizens to raise their voice against restriction of women's rights

Josko Klisovic, a Social Democrat member of the Croatian parliament, on Saturday called on all Croatians to raise their voice against a policy turnaround on women's rights after Croatia took a conservative position in a discussion on human rights in the Council of the European Union.

Egypt court acquits Mubarak's aide of 22 years

An Egyptian court on Saturday acquitted one of ousted president Hosny Mubarak's closest aides, ruling he was not guilty of corruption and illicit profits.

EU ambassador to Albania Romana Vlahutin under 24-hour police protection

EU Ambassador to Albania Romana Vlahutin and her family have been given 24-hour armed police protection due to threats she has been receiving lately, the Austrian paper Der Standard said on Saturday, explaining that the threats were linked to Vlahutin's monitoring of a reform of Albania's judiciary designed to curb corruption in that country.