Palestinian witness disputes Israeli military's account of West Bank shooting
Published 23/09/2015 | 15:55
A Palestinian witness has disputed the Israeli army's account of a fatal shooting in the West Bank.
Israel's military said a Palestinian woman was shot as she attempted to stab a soldier at a checkpoint.
The woman, Hadeel al-Hashlamon, was taken to an Israeli hospital in a critical condition on Tuesday and her father, Salah al-Hashlamon, said she later died of her wounds. No Israeli soldiers were hurt in the incident, in the West Bank city of Hebron.
But witness, Fawaz Abu Eisheh said he was at the checkpoint on his way to work at Hebron municipality and heard the troops ordering the woman to stop.
"Soldiers were shouting at a veiled girl, while aiming their weapons at her and asking her in Hebrew to step back," Abu Eisheh said, adding that he thought there might be a language barrier and offered to translate.
He said he told the woman to walk back toward the exit area of the checkpoint and that she heard him and began walking in that direction.
"While she was walking there, one of the soldiers stopped her and shot toward the floor, the girl stopped like a needle, she didn't move," he said. Several other soldiers then surrounded her, and everyone was shouting, he added.
Abu Eish said he asked the soldiers to wait while he spoke with her.
"In the middle of all this shouting, one of the soldiers shot directly at her left leg, she fell down and didn't move," Abu Eisheh said. "After 10 to 15 seconds later, he shot another bullet at her right leg, after 10 seconds, he shot four, five bullets at her abdomen and chest area, and then after five, 10 seconds he shot another bullet from one meter far."
Abu Eisheh spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday after the woman's funeral.
The Israeli military's account said: "The perpetrator approached the checkpoint and the metal detector was activated, alerting the troops' suspicion."
The military said suspicions were raised further when she ignored their instructions.
"Forces called for her to halt, which she ignored, and she continued moving while also pulling out a knife," it said.
"At this point, forces fired at the ground, then at her lower extremities in attempts to stop her advancement. The perpetrator continued and at this point, recognising a clear and present danger to their safety, the forces fired toward her," the military said.
It also released a photo it said was of the knife the woman had pulled.