A Border Guard officer shot and killed a Palestinian youth Wednesday after he threatened troops stationed near the Cave of the Patriarchs in the West Bank city of Hebron, with what later turned out to be a toy gun.
An initial inquiry derived that the Palestinian walked up to the troops stationed at the checkpoint and pulled a gun on one of the officers. A female Border Guard officer noticed the event and fired at him, killing him.
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Medical sources in Hebron identified the teen as 17-year-old Muhammad Ziad Salameh. They said he suffered gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen, adding that the Palestinian EMTs that arrived at the scene were not allowed to take him to a hospital.
A few dozen Palestinians began rioting following the incident. Security forces used crowd-control measures to disperse the demonstration.
The IDF launched an investigation into the event. A statement by the by the Border Guard spokesman offered the following information:
"At about 6:30 pm a Palestinian youth arrived at a Border Guard post near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. When one of the soldiers asked him to present identification, the youth attacked him, pulling a gun and holding it to the soldier's head.
"A female Border Guard officer standing at the post saw what was going on and opened fire. The youth was critically injured and rushed to a local hospital, where he died of his wounds."
The scene (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
According to the statement, "A riot followed the incident, but was controlled by the troops at the scene. A military sapper later determined that the weapon was a metal toy gun. The Judea and Samaria Police are looking into the matter."
'I only had seconds to react'
The soldier who shot the teen recounted the event: "I saw the Palestinian pull a gun out of his back pocket and hold it up to the other soldier. I knew I only had a few seconds so I cocked my weapon and looked for the right angle – so not to hurt the soldier."
According to the soldier, she was a few yards away, at the checkpoint post, during the incident. "He (the soldier) asked a Palestinian teenager for his ID. I stepped out to fill out a checkpoint report and I saw the Palestinian attack the soldier and take out a gun."
She said she fired three shots. "I knew that if I did anything wrong the other soldier could get killed. I know this was the mission – that I had to do it for my friend."
According to the young soldier, fear made way to focus. "I think it was the adrenalin. The other soldier said that he owes me his life. But there's no heroism here. This is what we're trained to do."
Border Guard Commander Amos Yakov said that the officer who shot the teen "Acted with professional resolve to end the event and I commend her for it. This is exactly who we expect our troops to act – this is what we train them for."
The event took place near a curve in the road known as "Turn 160," which links the area with Kiryat Arba.
Turn 160 has been the scene of several terror attacks in the past, including an attack on dozens of Israeli worshipers some 10 years ago.
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