UN calls for probe after Palestinian teens' fatal shooting

AFP , Tuesday 20 May 2014

A top UN official on Tuesday called for an investigation into the deaths of two Palestinian teens fatally shot last week by Israeli border policemen in the West Bank.

The youths were shot dead as Israeli police responded to demonstrations marking the 66th anniversary of the Nakba -- or "catastrophe" -- of the Jewish state's creation.

Assistant UN secretary general for political affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco called for an "independent and transparent" probe into the circumstances surrounding the boys' deaths.

"It is of serious concern that initial information appears to indicate that the two Palestinians killed were both unarmed and appeared to pose no direct threat," said Fernandez-Taranco.

"The UN calls for an independent and transparent investigation by the Israeli authorities into the two deaths, and urges Israel to ensure that its security forces strictly adhere to the basic principles on the use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials," he said at a briefing of the UN Security Council.

Israel has said the border police had tried to quell a violent demonstration by about 150 Palestinians.

But Palestinian leaders have said the slain boys were unarmed and posed no threat, accusing Israel of using "excessive and indiscriminate violence."

The group Defense for Children International-Palestine released what it said was closed circuit television footage showing the deaths of the two youths without provocation. Israel rejects the footage however, saying it had been doctored.

Amnesty International also has denounced the Israeli army's "excessive" use of force in the incident.

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