IDF Inquiry: Shooting of Palestinian Girl in Hebron Could Have Been Avoided

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Israeli border police check Palestinians' identification cards at a checkpoint as they exit the Arab neighborhood of Issawiyeh in Jerusalem, October 22, 2015.
Moments before the killing of Hadeel al-Hashlamoun at the IDF checkpoint at the entrance to Hebron's old city, September 22, 2015.Credit: AP

An Israel Defense Forces inquiry has concluded that the death of a Palestinian woman at a checkpoint in Hebron last month was unnecessary and could have been avoided.

Hadeel al-Hashlamoun, 18, was shot by soldiers after she had approached them at the checkpoint. A preliminary probe conducted by the Judea Regional Brigade commander concluded that a metal detector had gone off when she walked through the checkpoint.

According to the initial report, the soldiers called on her to stop and fired a few warning rounds toward the ground after she refused. Then, the soldiers claim she pulled out a knife, and that's when they fired shots at her legs. The soldiers said they opened fire for a second time after the woman tried again to raise the knife.

But a subsequent inquiry by brigade commander Col. Yariv Ben Ezra found that "the incident could have ended differently."

The incident was the first involving the company of soldiers from the Givati Brigade stationed at the checkpoint, who felt that their lives were in danger, the report stated.

That said, the Palestinian teenager could have been detained and not killed.

Contrary to the testimonies of several Palestinian eyewitnesses to the incident, the report found that Al-Hashlamoun had been carrying a knife, as reported in the army's incident report.

The report states the army's belief that Al-Hashlamoun arrived at the checkpoint intending to commit suicide. Her parents acknowledged that she was in emotional distress, according to an IDF source.

The shooting of Al-Hashlamoun, was documented by photographers at the scene and received wide global coverage

The source said that soldiers have been instructed to arrest suspects whenever possible. In the case of Al-Hashlamoun, it is possible that the inexperience of the soldiers at the checkpoint was responsible for the escalation of the incident.

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