Palestinian woman shot dead at Israeli checkpoint

Israeli troops firing tear gas at Palestinian protesters during clashes in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Monday. Tensions were running high as people in the region prepared to celebrate Yom Kippur and Eid al-Adha.
Israeli troops firing tear gas at Palestinian protesters during clashes in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Monday. Tensions were running high as people in the region prepared to celebrate Yom Kippur and Eid al-Adha.PHOTO: REUTERS

RAMALLAH (West Bank) • Israeli soldiers have shot and killed a Palestinian woman at a checkpoint in the West Bank.

The Israeli military said the woman had pulled out a knife but a European advocate for Palestinian rights, who said he had witnessed the episode in Hebron on Tuesday, said the woman appeared to be only trying to open her purse for inspection.

The shooting raised questions about whether the soldiers had overreacted to a perceived threat.

An Israeli military spokesman said the woman, Ms Hadeel Hashlamoun, 18, was ordered to stop when the checkpoint's metal detector went off as she went through, but she did not do so.

She then pulled out a knife, said the spokesman, and soldiers fired at her legs and feet. But the spokesman said Ms Hadeel continued to head towards them, and the soldiers shot her in the abdomen.

The activist, who spoke on condition of anonymity, provided photographs of the episode. One showed a soldier pointing his weapon at Ms Hadeel, and another showed her lying on the ground. He said a soldier had asked Ms Hadeel to open her bag for inspection.

"When she was opening her bag, he began shouting: 'Stop! Stop! Stop! Don't move! Don't move!'" the activist said.

"She was trying to show him what was inside her bag but the soldier shot her once, and then shot her again. Even if she had a knife, she would have to leap over a barrier about a metre high to reach a soldier. There were six or seven soldiers with heavy weapons. There was no need for that assassination."

A group of Palestinians later congregated at the site, hurling rocks at soldiers, who fired tear gas in response.

Separately on Tuesday, a Palestinian man was killed in an explosion near Hebron in what the Israeli military described as an accident, saying it appeared that a device the man was trying to throw had detonated prematurely.

The deaths occurred amid heightened tensions as the region prepared for Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, and Eid al-Adha, the Muslim feast, which both started on Tuesday.

NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 24, 2015, with the headline 'Palestinian woman shot dead at Israeli checkpoint'. Print Edition | Subscribe