Israeli account of Palestinian siblings' killing raises doubts
The official account by the Israeli police of the fatal shooting of a Palestinian brother and sister on Wednesday is provoking questions.
The Palestinian siblings, Maram Abu Ismayil, 23, and Ibrahim Salah Tahah, 16, were shot dead at the Qalandiya checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah on Wednesday. Israeli police officials told the Israeli daily Haaretz that the two were approaching officers in the "vehicles-only" lane, and refused calls to stop.
Police said Abu Ismayil pulled a knife and threw it at officers, and that two other knives were found on Tahah's body. Police released photos of the weapons.
2 terrorists attempted to carry out attack at calandia crossing. Police units respond at scene. Knives apprehended. pic.twitter.com/GD0luBIXkp— Micky Rosenfeld (@MickyRosenfeld) April 27, 2016
But witnesses and others have questioned the official account of the incident and questioned the need to use fatal force. One witness told Maan News Agency, a Palestinian wire service based in Bethlehem, that the siblings were 20 meters away from police at the time of the shooting.
Alaa Soboh, a Palestinian bus driver who witnessed the shooting, told Reuters the siblings appeared to be unfamiliar with procedures for crossing the checkpoint, which goes from Jerusalem to the West Bank, and that police shot Tahah after he had stopped advancing.
Israeli occupation forces executed a Palestinian woman & teen at Qalandiya, firing 15 rounds into the woman's body https://t.co/WxjEUARP32— Remi Kanazi (@Remroum) April 27, 2016
"As soon as the two crossed, [Israeli officers] started screaming 'Go back, go back', and then they began shooting. The first one they shot was the girl ... the boy tried to go backward, when they fired seven bullets at him," Soboh said.
Additionally, Haaretz asked the police to release the video of the shooting and was told that "if there was one," it could not be made public because the incident was under investigation.
Yet Haaretz found numerous instances in the past, however, where the Israeli police have released videos of similar incidents in order to justify their behavior.
Israelis are asking questions about what happened at Qalandiya. The facts don't even matter anymore https://t.co/35LdMIQuFx— Mairav Zonszein (@MairavZ) April 30, 2016
The incident caused clashes to break out between Israeli officers and angry Palestinian passersby, and Israeli forced used tear gas and sound grenades to quell the crowds, Al Jazeera reported.
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