Published December 11, 2015
Photos have emerged of the moment an Israeli soldier aimed his rifle at a Palestinian teen killed by Israeli troops in the West Bank city of Hebron, Sky News reports.
The photos, posted on the Facebook page of the Palestinian activist group Youth Against Settlements, show the soldier aiming his weapon at 18-year-old Hadeel al-Hashlamon, who was wearing a black hijab, from a short distance away.
The Israeli military claims the woman approached a checkpoint, activating the metal detector and alerting the troops’ suspicion. These suspicions were raised when al-Hashlamon reportedly ignored their instructions and pulled out a knife.
"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, recognizing a clear and present danger to their safety, the forces fired toward her," the military told the Associated Press.
Al-Hashlamon was taken to an Israeli hospital in critical condition Tuesday. Her father said she later died of her wounds. No Israeli soldiers were hurt in the incident.
A Palestinian witness on Wednesday is disputing the account, saying the woman was exiting the checkpoint when she was shot.
"One of the soldiers stopped her and shot toward the floor, the girl stopped like a needle, she didn't move," Fawaz Abu Eisheh told The Associated Press. Several other soldiers then surrounded her and shouting ensued.
"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 added. "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 away.”
The woman's father, Salah al-Hashlamon, also states the story differently, telling the Associated Press his "daughter was killed in cold blood" after she declined an officer’s request to remove her veil.
"Then he shouted at her, saying, ‘Do you have a knife?'" he added. He says his daughter got confused and as she "stepped back, he [the soldier] opened fire and killed her."
The father did not witness the incident and says he bases his version of the story on what people present at the checkpoint told him.
"I have eyewitnesses, I have photos, and will go to court," he said.
The violence comes amid escalating hostilities surrounding Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. The site has been a flashpoint for violence in recent days.
Tensions boiled over last week on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah when Palestinians barricaded themselves inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque and threw rocks and firecrackers at officers. An Israeli man was killed in Jerusalem when Palestinians pelted his car with rocks. Palestinian stabbing attacks against soldiers in the West Bank are also fairly common.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.