Israel defends soldiers as questions swirl over Palestinian's death

Israel defends soldiers as questions swirl over Palestinian's death

JERUSALEM - Agence France-Presse
Israel defends soldiers as questions swirl over Palestinians death

In this photo made available on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015 by the Youth Against Settlements, a Palestinian activist network the opposes Jewish settlements in the West Bank, Israeli soldiers aim their weapons at a Palestinian woman as a bystander talks to her at a checkpoint in the West Bank city of Hebron. AP Photo

Israel on Sept.24 defended the actions of its soldiers who shot dead an 18-year-old Palestinian woman at a checkpoint in the West Bank as questions swirled over the events that led to the killing.

Hadeel al-Hashlamon was shot by Israeli forces on Sept.22 at a checkpoint in the flashpoint city of Hebron. The military said she was attempting to stab a soldier when they opened fire.
Activists have however distributed photos purporting to show the fully veiled woman with no knife visible at the checkpoint. The pictures however do not capture the moment of the shooting and no firm conclusion can be drawn from them.
The Israeli military on Sept.24 maintained its initial version of events and provided further details of what it said occurred. It said a preliminary review had been opened as is standard for fatal incidents.
Israeli news media also published a photo distributed by the military of a knife on the ground that the woman allegedly used.    

According to a military official, the metal detector at the checkpoint sounded when the woman walked through it and soldiers ordered her to stop.
"She didn't stop and continued walking," the official said.
"She approached one of the troops while pulling a knife out of her bag while the soldiers fired at the ground, then at her legs. In spite of this, she continued walking. The troops then fired at her lower body."  

The woman's father said at her funeral on Sept.23 that she was innocent and had been killed by multiple shots while posing no threat.
An activist with the Youth Against Settlements group that distributed photos purporting to show the woman at the checkpoint before her death said he arrived at the scene shortly afterwards and saw no knife.
"She did not have a knife," said the activist, Issa Amro. "She was murdered in cold blood and was not a threat to the soldiers."  

The killing came with tensions high in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem after three days of clashes last week at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound and with the convergence this week of the Jewish Yom Kippur and Muslim Eid al-Adha holidays.