Tensions High in Hebron as Female Soldier Who Shot Youth Receives Death Threats Online (PHOTO)
by Zach Pontz
With reporting by JNS.org
Fresh riots broke out in the flashpoint city of Hebron on Thursday as a Palestinian youth shot and killed by Israeli Border Police on Wednesday was buried, Israel Hayom reported. Dozens of Palestinians hurled rocks and firebombs at IDF troops, who responded with crowd dispersal munitions. The Palestinians report five people injured in the protest.
An Israel Border Policewoman, 19, shot and killed a Palestinian youth on Wednesday night in Hebron after the latter pointed a handgun (shown below) at the head of another Border Policeman at a checkpoint near the Cave of the Patriarchs.
It was only after police forensics teams investigated the scene that it was discovered that the gun the Palestinian youth was brandishing was fake, Border Police commander Maj. Gen. Amos Yakov told Army Radio on Thursday morning. Yakov said that any Border Police officer would have acted the same way, as the handgun looked real. Yakov said the policewoman acted quickly and correctly when she assessed that her colleague’s life was in danger.
“We’re talking about Hebron, which is a volatile area. And it was dark and cold. So when you look at the gun used, in daylight it looks very real, so in the darkness in a tense situation it looked very real,” Yakov added.
The Palestinian Maan News Agency identified the killed Palestinian man as Muhammad Ziad Awad Salaymah, 17. Salaymah’s brother was reportedly a terrorist released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap deal and banished to the Gaza Strip. Pictures show that Salaymah was wrapped in a Hamas flag at his funeral.
Police described the initial shooting as follows: On Wednesday around 6:30 pm Muhammad al-Salaymeh, who was celebrating his 17th birthday, was walking near a Border Patrol post near the Tomb of the Patriarchs when he caught the attention of the patrolmen. Police said after they asked him for his ID he began fighting with a patrolman and pulled out a pistol and pointed it at the officer. Police said he was then shot by the other officer on duty.
Meanwhile the female officer who shot the teenager continued to receive death threats online Thursday. The Times of Israel reported some were calling for her to be tried in international criminal court while others were simply calling for her head.
When asked if she was worried about the death threats she said, “I managed to take a look at them here and there but I’m not afraid. Of course they’d write things like this so I’d feel bad about what happened but I know I did the right thing. This is what they taught us, to fire at the terrorist in order to neutralize them, fake gun or not.”
For her part the officer expressed no regrets upon learning that the pistol was a fake. “It didn’t change it for me, because in those same moments you don’t have time to think or be confused. For me it was a real pistol in every sense of the word pointed at my soldier and it’s my responsibility to act, because if I don’t kill him my friend will be killed, and I won’t let this happen,” the officer told several media outlets.