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Israeli troops kill 15-year-old Palestinian believed to be bystander

A British tourist, his Belgium wife and an Israeli citizen were slightly injured by stones reportedly thrown by Palestinian youths

File photo shows an Israeli soldier in the West Bank (AFP)

A 15-year-old Palestinian, shot and killed by Israeli soldiers early on Tuesday, was probably an "uninvolved" bystander, the Israeli army said in a statement.

At least three other Palestinian youths were also wounded when troops opened fire following a stone-throwing incident, although the army has yet to disclose whether they were in a vehicle when injured or had been part of the group throwing stones.

"From initial inquiry, it appears uninvolved bystanders were mistakenly hit during the pursuit," an army spokeswoman said, without clarifying further. 

The 15-year-old victim, Mahmoud Badran, was killed when the car he was travelling in was fired upon by an Israeli military patrol, according to Wajih Ahmad, head of the Beit Ur al-Tahta local council in the West Bank. Badran was initially reported as being 20 years-old by local and foreign media.

A British tourist, his Belgium wife and an Israeli citizen were slightly injured by the Palestinian youths, the Israeli army said. 

A preliminary investigation by Israeli authorities into the incident ruled that stones and a firebomb were thrown at a highway reserved for settlers leading from Jerusalem to Modiin, near the village of Beit Sira just north of Jerusalem, at around 1am and that Israeli soldiers had moved in to try and stop them. 

The road cuts through the occupied West Bank for several miles on its way from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. Some 12 vehicles in the area were damaged by the stone-throwing, the Palestinian news agency Maan reported.

The army said the investigation into the incident would continue.

"An initial review suggests that as the mob continued, nearby forces acted in order to protect the additional passing vehicles from immediate danger and fired towards the assailants," a military statement said.

Since October violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories has killed at least 209 Palestinians, 32 Israelis, two Americans, an Eritrean and a Sudanese.

Many of the Palestinians were killed attempting to carry out attacks, Israeli authorities say.

Others were shot dead by Israeli security forces during protests or killed by Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip.

On Monday a young Palestinian man said to be suffering from Down's syndrome was buried. He was fatally shot by Israeli troops in the occupied West Bank last month and died in hospital.