On Friday, Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem shared a video of a frightened 8-year-old Palestinian boy being dragged from house to house by some fifteen armed Israeli soldiers for more than one hour.
Apparently, the Israeli Defense Forces wanted the boy to help them hunt down the greatest threat to their national security ... Palestinian children.
Despite the video clearly documenting the incident, a spokesman for the Israeli army blatantly denied it.
The video footage was taken on March 19 by two residents of the Palestinian city of Hebron and shared by the B'Tselem on Friday.
According to the organization, more than fifteen Israeli soldiers seized 8-year-old Sufian Abu Hitah, who had been looking for his lost toy on the streets of Hebron with nothing but socks on his feet.
The soldiers asked the frightened child, who doesn't even live in the neighborhood, for the names of the children who had allegedly thrown stones and a Molotov cocktail (a petrol bomb) at a nearby Israeli settlement.
Despite Abu Hitah's crying and denying any knowledge of the incident, the IDF grabbed him and dragged him around several houses, in effort to force him to identify the wanted kids.
The video shows several Palestinian adults trying to intervene, to no avail for over an hour.
The boy's mother rushed to the streets as soon as she heard about what happened, and begged the soldiers to let him go.
"I went up to one of the soldiers and asked him to give me back my son. He refused. I tried to explain that we don’t live in the neighborhood and were just visiting my parents. I told the soldier that Sufian doesn't know the names of the neighborhood kids. He ignored me," she told B'Tselem.
According to the mother, she had known that the IDF were patrolling the neighborhood and ordered her son not to leave his grandparents' house. But, Abu Hitah disobeyed her and sneaked out to look for his missing toy.
Towards the end of the video, Abu Hitah is seen sobbing with fear as the soldiers drag him out of a house. Several enraged women gathered around them and successfully pulled the boy away. The Israelis follow the crowd in attempt to retrieve the boy, but they eventually let him go.
Ma'an news agency obtained a statement from an Israeli army spokesperson, who completely disregarded the events recorded in the video.
The spokesperson said that after a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the Israeli settlement, a suspect was detained and taken to his parents' home because he was a minor.
"It was noted in the initial review that the forces did not ask the minor to direct them to any other suspects," he told Ma'an.
The news agency noted that the spokesperson did not clarify when the alleged attack happened, nor comment on the video that clearly shows the soldiers harassing Abu Hitah and refusing to free him.
Here is how some social media users commented on the incident: