A Jewish Israeli man was shot and killed at a checkpoint outside Jerusalem on Tuesday. Police said the man, 19, was running toward a soldier with a knife in his hand, and apparently sought to commit “suicide by soldier.”
The man was shot by a civilian security guard stationed at the checkpoint, who feared he was attempting to carry out a stabbing attack. Nobody else was hurt.
The incident occurred at about 3:45 P.M. at the Hizma Checkpoint, located at the northeast entrance to Jerusalem from the West Bank. Soldiers and security guards at the checkpoint said the man approached from the Israeli side and began running toward a female soldier while holding something suspicious in his hand. A security guard standing behind the soldier felt that her life was in danger and shot him.
An ambulance summoned to the scene tried to treat him, but was forced to declare him dead. Police later determined that the object he was holding was a small knife, which was found at the scene.
Police said the man lived with his mother in Pisgat Ze’ev, the Jerusalem neighborhood adjacent to the crossing. For reasons that aren’t yet clear, he had not been drafted into the army. He had recently gone through an emotional crisis, and police said he left a suicide note, which was found a few hours after his death.
One of his friends told the police that a few days ago, the man had told him he was in severe emotional distress, and that if anything should happen to him, he had left a letter. The man also told his friend where the letter was hidden. In it, he said he doesn’t trust anyone and is in despair.
The checkpoint was closed temporarily following the incident.
Over the past two years, there have been several Palestinian assailants who apparently sought to commit suicide rather than to carry out an attack. The concept of “suicide by police” is well known in countries with large Muslim populations, because Islam forbids suicide, but being killed by a policeman or soldier is often considered an honorable death that entitles the dead man to the status of a martyr.
Until now, however, there have been no known cases of Jews trying to commit suicide in this fashion.