Grieving Palestinian father of girl, 13, who was shot dead says guard went too far

The mother (centre) of the 13-year-old Palestinian girl mourns during her funeral in the West Bank town of Yatta on Jan 24, 2016.
The mother (centre) of the 13-year-old Palestinian girl mourns during her funeral in the West Bank town of Yatta on Jan 24, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS
Members of Palestinian security forces carry the body of Palestinian girl Ruqayya Abu Eid, 13, during her funeral in the West Bank town of Yatta, south of Hebron, on Jan 24, 2016.
Members of Palestinian security forces carry the body of Palestinian girl Ruqayya Abu Eid, 13, during her funeral in the West Bank town of Yatta, south of Hebron, on Jan 24, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

YATTA, PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES (AFP) - The father of a 13-year-old Palestinian girl shot dead by an Israeli security guard after trying to stab him has accused the man on Sunday (Jan 24) of acting with disproportionate force.

Roqaya Abu-Eid left her West Bank village of Anata, north-east of Jerusalem, on Saturday and went to the gate of the nearby Jewish settlement of Anatot.

Video footage published by Israeli media shows her clutching a knife and running at the private security guard who then shot her dead.

Police said she had been feeling suicidal after a fight with her family, and her father, Mr Eid Abu-Eid, who had been searching for her, arrived too late at the scene of the attack.

He was released after questioning and was among the hundreds who attended her funeral on Sunday in Yatta, the southern Hebron hills village from where the family originated.

"She was a little girl. There's no reason in the world for her to be shot and killed," Mr Abu-Eid told AFP by telephone after the funeral.

"The person who shot her could have apprehended her or shot her in the leg - he didn't have to kill her," he said. "It was as though he issued her a death sentence."

Rights groups have called on Israel to stop using "lethal force" against attackers, and Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom has accused the Jewish state of carrying out "extrajudicial executions" in response to knife attacks by Palestinians.

Asked if he would seek legal redress, Mr Abu-Eid said he had "turned to God" instead, since he trusted no court, Israeli or any other.

His daughter's death brought the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in the wave of violence since Oct 1 to 156, according to an AFP count. Twenty-four Israelis have also been killed.

Most of the Palestinians killed were carrying out attacks and many of the assailants have been young people, with Israel's Shin Bet internal agency telling AFP that Roqaya Abu-Eid was the youngest killed in the nearly four months of violence.

Also on Sunday, the Shin Bet said that Murad Ideis, 15, arrested for stabbing to death 38-year-old Israeli nurse and mother of six Dafna Meir at her home in a West Bank settlement last Sunday, had been influenced to carry out the attack by Palestinian media.

"During the period preceding the murder, the minor had watched broadcasts on Palestinian television in which Israel was portrayed as 'killing Palestinian young people'," the agency said in a statement.

Meir's murder underscored "the severity of the threat posed by the wild incitement being carried out against the State of Israel and Jews in the Palestinian media", it said.

In a separate incident early on Sunday, a 17-year-old Palestinian named Mohammad Halabiye died in a blast which a security official said was apparently a "mistake".

A security source said border policemen at a post in Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem, heard an explosion and rushed to find Halabiye, who is believed to have intended to throw a device at them when it went off prematurely.