Israeli police defend officers after video emerges of shooting

2016-10-20 20:27


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Jerusalem - Israeli police on Thursday defended officers who shot dead a 19-year-old Palestinian accused of trying to stab them, after video emerged appearing to show them fire at her on the ground.

The incident on Wednesday in a tense area of the occupied West Bank saw the woman approach border police officers, ignore orders to stop and pull a knife, Israeli police said.

The officers posted to the Tapuah junction in the north of the West Bank then opened fire at her.

Also known as Zaatara junction and with Israeli settlements nearby, it has been the site of a number of violent incidents.

Video later emerged appearing to show officers open fire on the woman, Raheeq Shajeyeh Youssef, after she was already on the ground.

Four officers can be seen in the video.

"Who fired?" a voice can be heard saying afterward.

"The four of us," someone responds.

It was not clear who filmed the video that appeared on the Ynet news site and elsewhere.

Police said an inquiry had been opened as is usually done with fatal incidents, but defended the officers.

"The video shows a partial picture of the event," police spokesperson Luba Samri said in a statement.

"It is not possible to see the terrorist moving towards the officers while handling the knife and endangering their lives.

"From the recording of the event it is possible to see that immediately after the danger was neutralised and had passed, the officers stopped firing, closed the area and proceeded to do the follow-ups on the incident."

The Palestinian foreign ministry harshly criticised Wednesday's shooting, saying in a statement that "the recording shows the soldiers continued to shoot her despite her falling to the ground and not representing any threat to them".

'Disproportionate force'

The ministry alleged the death was one of "dozens" of similar cases.

Israeli security forces have been accused of using disproportionate force in a number of cases over the past year.

An Israeli soldier is on trial for manslaughter after video emerged showing him shoot a wounded Palestinian attacker in the head in March as he lay on the ground without seeming to pose any further threat.

Police were also criticised for the shooting of a Palestinian teenage girl involved in a stabbing attack with scissors in November.

Footage appeared to show an officer shoot the girl again as she was already on the ground.

Violence since October 2015 has killed 234 Palestinians, 36 Israelis, two Americans, one Jordanian, an Eritrean and a Sudanese national, according to an AFP count.

Most of the Palestinians killed were carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks, according to Israeli authorities.

Others were shot dead during protests or clashes, while some were killed in Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip.

Read more on:    palestine  |  israel

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