Xinhua | ANI
Israeli security forces in the West Bank declared high alert Thursday in Hebron after a 17-year- old Palestinian was shot down by an Israeli border guard the previous night.
Army Radio reported that the victim, Muhammad al-Salaymeh, whose funeral is scheduled to take place later Thursday, is the brother of a Palestinian prisoner who was released as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap deal.
According to the account of the border police, al-Salaymeh got the officers’ suspicious at a checkpoint near the Cave of Patriarchs in Hebron, and instead of showing his identification card he was seen pulling out what appeared to be a gun and aimed it at an Israeli officer.
He was then shot by a female border guard officer who took notice of the events.
However, further details from the Israel Defense Forces’ investigation of the case emerging Thursday revealed that apparently the gun he pulled out was fake, as the police determined the gun was a toy pistol made out of metal.
“I realized within seconds that if I didn’t act my colleagues would die, and we didn’t have time to verify whether it was a real gun,” the guard told Israel Radio Thursday. Her identity is confidential. Riots followed as several dozens of Palestinians clashed with IDF soldiers, hurling stones at them, while the Israeli soldiers fired tear gas in response.
Pro-Palestinian groups on Thursday circulated pictures of the border police officer who killed al-Salaymeh, demanding to bring ” the killer on trial before the international courts.”
Clashes erupted last week in Hebron as dozens of Palestinians attacked IDF soldiers on routine patrol in the area. In the clashes, 23 Palestinians were hurt lightly from smoke inhalation, while an Israeli soldier was lightly wounded in his nose.
Recent events in the West Bank have brought up serious considerations about the Israeli army’s rules of engagement. Local news outlets reported dozens of IDF raids in the past week at various spots in the West Bank. On Tuesday, the IDF stormed the offices of three Palestinian non-governmental organizations and confiscated five computers.