A US State Department Deputy Spokesperson said on Thursday the US is demanding "an immediate and thorough investigation" into the death of a seven-year-old Palestinian Arab who died during IDF activity in the town of Teqoa, southeast of Bethlehem.
“We are heartbroken by the reports of the death of an innocent child. We support an immediate and thorough investigation around the circumstances of his death," State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel told reporters during a briefing.
The seven-year-old, Rian Suleiman, died when Israeli soldiers arrived at the boy’s house, looking for his 8- and 10-year-old brothers who allegedly threw rocks at them, reported Axios.
The boy’s family claimed that Rian was frightened by the soldiers and the commotion that was created, and suffered a heart attack, collapsed and died.
An IDF official told Axios that a preliminary investigation showed that the commander on the ground spoke to the boy’s father "on the doorstep."
The IDF official said that “it was a calm conversation and no violence was used." He added that shortly after the conversation, the soldiers left and only afterward the boy collapsed.
The incident in Teqoa came one day after two terrorists were eliminated during a gun battle with IDF forces and Border Police officers in Jenin.
One of the terrorists who were killed was the brother of Raad Khazem, a Palestinian Arab terrorist from Jenin who murdered two Israelis in a shooting attack in Tel Aviv in April.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Wednesday, following the Jenin incident, that the Biden administration is “deeply concerned by the deteriorating security situation in the West Bank."
He said that since the beginning of 2022, more than 100 Palestinian Arabs have been killed in Palestinian Authority-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria and more than 30 in Gaza, while more than 20 Israelis and other civilians have been killed in terrorist attacks.
“We call on the parties themselves to contain the violence. The United States and other international partners stand ready to help but we cannot substitute for vital actions by the parties to mitigate conflict and to restore calm," Price said, according to Axios.