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US calls for 'accountability' following Israeli killing of Palestinian girl

State Department spokesperson expressed 'profound condolences' after 15-year-old Jana Majdi Zakarneh was shot while retrieving her cat
There is mounting calls for an investigation over the killing of 15-year-old Jana Majdi Zakarneh (Social Media)

The US has called for "accountability" after Israeli forces killed 15-year-old Palestinian Jana Majdi Zakarneh on Sunday evening. 

US State Department spokesman Ned Price on Monday said: "We do express our profound condolences to the family of Jana Zakarna, the young teenage girl who was killed.

"We understand the IDF is undertaking an investigation into what happened. We hope to see accountability in this case," he added at a news conference, using an acronym for the Israeli military.

According to reports, Zakarneh was shot four times. Zakarneh's uncle, speaking to AFP, said that his niece had gone to the roof of the building to get her cat. 

'She wasn't carrying a weapon or throwing stones, she had nothing and was shot with four bullets'

- Jana Majdi Zakarneh's uncle

"She wasn't carrying a weapon or throwing stones, she had nothing and was shot with four bullets in deadly spots: in the head, the face and twice in the chest. They have truly killed childhood," he said.

Noting the recent "alarming increase in Palestinian and Israeli deaths and injuries," Price reiterated the need for "all parties to take steps to de-escalate the situation".

The Israeli army confirmed the killing of a Palestinian girl during a raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin on Sunday night. In a statement, it said soldiers hit the girl unintentionally, claiming they returned fire at gunmen on a rooftop. 

Deadliest year on record

On Thursday, four Palestinians were killed by Israeli gunfire in Jenin, including a 17-year-old teenager. The Israeli military said its forces were conducting an operation to arrest 15 wanted men in Jenin when armed Palestinians began to fire at them.

Following the latest deaths, the number of Palestinians killed since the beginning of this year has risen to 218, including 52 in the Gaza Strip and 166 in the West Bank, making it one of the deadliest years on record for Palestinians since 2005.

Israel has recently been conducting raid-and-arrest operations across the West Bank on a near-daily basis, often killing or wounding Palestinians in the process. 

The operations have resulted in more 2,500 arrests, according to Israeli authorities. Many of the deadly raids have occurred in the Jenin and Nablus areas.

Thursday's deaths come amid a spike in Israeli violence against Palestinians in the West Bank this year and a resurgence of Palestinian armed resistance.  

Israel's "shoot-to-kill policy" has been widely criticised as the number of Palestinian deaths at the hands of its forces increases. 

Meanwhile, 29 Israelis, including soldiers, have been killed by Palestinians in the same period, the highest number since 2008.

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