IDF: The boy was caught as a suspect but was not retained due to his young age

Volunteers in B’Tselem filmed a group of soldiers holding an 8-year-old boy in Hebron who, according to the organization, was forced to identify the children who had thrown stones and a Molotov cocktail in Kiryat Arba. B'Tselem: "There are inaccuracies in the IDF Spokesperson's Unit’s response."

Watch: Footage of IDF soldiers with 8-year-old Sufian Abu Hita in Hebron

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IDF soldiers were filmed last week leading Sufian Abu Hita, 8, from house to house in Hebron. In a video filmed by a volunteer in B’Tselem together with a resident of the area, several soldiers can be seen holding Abu Hita by the arms and guiding him towards the houses. The organization claimed that the boy was asked to point out which children had just thrown stones and a Molotov cocktail towards Kiryat Arba.

According to B'Tselem, Abu Haya's mother said that her son had sneaked out of the building where they were staying, despite her pleas not to do so. She told one of the organization's volunteers that two soldiers grabbed him and dragged him to the neighborhood of al-Harika where they brought him to a number of houses and demanded that he help find the children.

In her conversation with the B’Tselem volunteer, the boy’s mother added that after more than an hour had passed, a few women managed to take Abu Hita away from the soldiers and bring him back home. "I went to one of the soldiers and asked him to give me back my son," she said. "He refused, and said: ‘If you want to take him, you have to convince him to give us the names of the children throwing stones.’ I told the soldier that we do not live in the neighborhood and that we were only visiting my parents and that the boy does not know the names of the children in the neighborhood. The soldier ignored what I said and dragged Sufian first to Kiryat Arba and then to the street that leads to the Jabel Johar area. "

Despite the mother’s claims, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said that an initial investigation had revealed that the child was not ordered to direct the soldiers to the suspects who had thrown Molotov cocktails and that "a preliminary investigation indicated that last Sunday, a military observation post saw a Molotov cocktail being thrown towards Kiryat Arba. An IDF force that was called to the scene caught a suspect and led him to his parents' house because he was a minor. The soldiers did not demand that the minor direct them to additional suspects.”

B'Tselem rejected the army's statement and said that there are inconsistencies in the IDF Spokesperson's Unit’s report and released the video as proof. They said that Abu Hita’s parents' home was not located in the neighborhood where the incident took place and that the video shows how the soldiers dragged Abu Hita between the houses. They added that in some parts of the documented video, the soldiers can be heard repeating the name that the boy gave them.



Click Here for more reports by Chelsea Mosery Birnbaum

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