15-year-old Palestinian boy lost his leg after being shot ‘while playing football’ by Israeli forces
Mahmoud Salah, a 15-year-old Palestinian, was full of life, sparing no moment to joke and play with his friends in al-Khader town in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem.
He was playing football with his peers in the town when an Israeli bullet ripped through his left leg, nipping all his dreams right in the bud.
“A month ago, I was playing football with my friends when the ball crossed the wire near an Israeli military checkpoint,” Salah told Anadolu Agency.
“As I moved to get the ball, I heard heavy gunfire; I was shot and injured,” he said.
Despite his injuries, the Palestinian minor was arrested by Israeli forces and was moved to a hospital for treatment.
After a three-day coma, Salah woke up on a very tragic scene; his left leg was amputated.
“It was an unexpected shock that I have never imagined,” Salah said, trying to hold back his tears.
“This amputation has destroyed me,” he said. “It would have been easier for me to be sentenced to life in prison than amputating my leg.”
“I do not know how I will pursue my life, how I will live with my friends,” Salah said. “Today, I’m disabled.”
“My dream of life has been killed,” the Palestinian boy said.
Despite his shock, Salah still hopes to complete his treatment and install a prosthetic leg, and go to university.
“Sometimes I feel that my leg is still there, but when I look down, I see it amputated,” he said.
Salah was accused by Israeli interrogators of throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at the Israeli military checkpoint, charges he denied.
Salah’s mother, Aisha Salah, says her son’s leg amputation was the “hardest moment of her life”.
“It was one of the most difficult moments of my life,” she told Anadolu Agency.
“It feels like they have cut a piece of my heart,” she said.
Notably, Salah’s brother Bakr is held by the Israeli authorities.
“The [Israeli] occupation is fighting us with everything,” the bereaved mother said. “My eldest son was arrested, and the other son was handicapped.”
Amana Farahna, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Prisoner Society, an NGO, accused the Israeli army of intentionally targeting children and arresting them.
“The case of Mahmoud Salah is similar to a number of cases of children, who were subjected to gunfire and medical negligence that resulted in amputations,” she told Anadolu Agency.
“The Israeli army is deliberately targeting children in the limbs and turning them into disabled people, to create a state of deterrence against children.”
Farahna cited that the Israeli army has arrested around 220 Palestinian minors under the age of 18, held them in inhuman conditions and subjected them to harsh interrogations.
She denounced “the policy of arresting children, which contradicts with the rights of the child, and international law”.
According to the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority’s Commission for Prisoners’ Affairs, the total number of Palestinians in Israeli custody currently stands at 5,700 — including numerous women and children.