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Israeli forces shoot Palestinian girl, 13 after refusing orders to stop at checkpoint

Sept. 21, 2016 9:53 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 22, 2016 11:50 A.M.)
QALQILIYA (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces shot and injured a 13-year-old Palestinian girl at the Eliyahu checkpoint in eastern Qalqiliya near the illegal Israeli settlement of Alfei Manashe in the northern occupied West Bank, after she was ordered to stop by border guards and continued walking.

The incident was reported by Israeli media as an "attempted stabbing attack" and a "thwarted terror attack," though an Israeli Defense Ministry statement reportedly said that Israeli forces found no traces of explosives or weapons after searching the teenager’s bag.

The girl was reportedly shot in her legs, leaving her lightly to moderately injured, and was subsequently detained by Israeli forces. She is reportedly being hospitalized at Meir Hospital in Kfar Sava in central Israel.

No Israeli injuries were reported.

The Defense Ministry statement said that after the girl approached the military checkpoint, Israeli authorities ordered her to stop, firing warning shots into the air. When she reached toward her shirt, a border guard shot her in the leg.

During her initial detention and questioning, she reportedly told interrogators: "I came here to die," according to the Israeli Defense Ministry.

Israeli media identified the girl as Baraa Ramadan Issawi.

The incident came amid a surge in violence in the occupied Palestinian territory that has seen seven Palestinians -- including two minors -- and one Jordanian shot dead in less than a week, and three Palestinians seriously injured by Israeli forces. All but one were shot while allegedly committing or attempting to commit attacks on uniformed Israeli soldiers or police, while the other was fatally shot during a military raid as Israeli soldiers attempted to detain the man.

During the same period, at least two Palestinians, including a 13-year-old boy, have been detained for alleged knife possession at Israeli military checkpoints.

The surge in violence came after a period of relative calm since a wave of unrest spread across the Palestinian territory nearly a year ago, which has seen 230 Palestinians killed by Israelis and 32 Israelis killed by Palestinians. The violence has been largely characterized by small-scale attacks committed by Palestinians against uniformed Israeli soldiers or police, and rights groups have disputed Israel's version of events in a number of cases.

UN investigations have shown that, in a number of instances since the unrest began, Israeli forces have implemented a policy of extrajudicial execution, shooting dead Palestinians who did not present imminent threat at the time of their death -- amid a backdrop of impunity for Israeli forces committing the killings.

After the pattern apparent extrajudicial executions emerged, Israeli media reported claims that a number of the Palestinians were killed or injured after they intentionally "provoked" Israeli forces in order to commit suicide.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Hebron -- the southern West Bank city where six of this week's nine shootings have occurred and which has seen the bulk of violence throughout the past year -- reported Tuesday that Palestinian security forces have recently detained a number Palestinians suspected of being hired by Israel to “escalate violence.”

“Our reports indicate that Israeli forces provoke Palestinian children and incite them to carry knifes. Israeli soldiers keep asking Palestinian children at checkpoints, ‘Where are your knifes? Why aren’t you carrying knifes?’,” Kamel Hameid said in the press conference.

Hameid told reporters that Israeli security forces, with the support of the Israeli government, have been carrying out an “ethnic cleansing” campaign against unarmed Palestinian citizens, adding that “Israel’s escalation of violence and executions is exacerbating the situation in Hebron to the brink of disaster.”
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