Human rights group says shooting of Palestinian student by Israeli soldier 'was not justified'

B'Tselem says the Israeli soldiers involved acted 'disproportionately'

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The Independent Online

A human rights group has said there was “no justification” for an Israeli soldier’s killing of a Palestinian teenager at a West Bank checkpoint.

The 18-year-old student, believed to be Hadeek al-Hashlamon – also referred to as Hadil al-Haslamun – died of wounds to her chest, legs and abdomen after being shot by the soldier in Hebron on Tuesday.

The Israeli army alleges she had tried to stab the uninjured soldier, who then opened fire in response.

The woman was taken to a nearby Israeli hospital, but died from her injuries.

B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, has condemned Ms al-Hashlamon’s death, saying there was “no justification for multiple bullets” and that it believes the soldiers involved had “overreacted” to the incident.

 

In a statement, it said: “The circumstances of the incident indicate that the soldiers at the checkpoint acted disproportionately.

“They did not try to subdue al-Hashlamun and take her into custody without resorting to live fire.

“The claim that al-Hashlamun tried to stab soldiers cannot be reconciled with the fact that there was a metal barrier between her and the soldiers at the time of the shooting.

“The soldier who opened fire continued shooting after she had been hit in the legs and no longer posed a danger.

“The military has video documentation of the incident from the checkpoint's security cameras, and should publish it in if it stands behind the soldiers' version of events.

“The military command’s knee jerk defence of the soldiers, as expressed in the military’s response to the incident, sends soldiers on the ground a clear message that when it comes to using force, including lethal force, against Palestinian civilians – there are very little limitations.”

B’Tselem claims its investigation into the killing “raised doubts” about what the Israeli Army alleges happened.

The group said the soldiers had claimed that the woman set off a metal detector at the checkpoint and refused to stop when asked to.

It said it had been claimed that soldiers fired a few warning shots towards the ground and, when she pulled out a knife, they shot at her legs. It said it had been alleged that the soldiers said they opened fire for a second time after the woman tried again to raise the knife she was carrying.

But, B’Tselem claims it has discovered that Ms al-Hashlamun was shot at without having raised a knife towards the soldier.

Contradictory videos have emerged of the incident, neither of which can be independently verified.