Palestinian girl, 13, shot dead while attempting attack on Israeli settlement guard 'intended to die', police claim

Reeda Abu Eid claimed her daughter had not tried to stab the man in the West Bank

Lizzie Dearden
Saturday 23 January 2016 12:49
A knife (bottom right) could be seen in police photos from the scene at the Anatot settlement in the West Bank on 23 January 2016
A knife (bottom right) could be seen in police photos from the scene at the Anatot settlement in the West Bank on 23 January 2016

A 13-year-old Palestinian girl who attempted to stab an Israeli security guard has been shot dead in the West Bank.

Police claimed the teenager, named as Ruqayya Abu Eid, was “intending to die” when she travelled to the Anatot settlement near her family home on Saturday morning.

Luba Samri, a spokesperson for Israeli police, said she approached a gate leading to the settlement and ran at a security guard with a knife after he stopped her and asked for identification.

Initial investigations suggested the teenager “had fought with her family and left her home with a knife and intending to die”, she added.

Ruqayya’s father arrived at the scene searching for his daughter to find her dead on the ground. He was arrested and taken for questioning.

But the girl’s mother, Reeda Abu Eid, contradicted the police account.

She said there had been no trouble before her daughter left the family home, a tent in the Palestinian village of Anata.

“Her father works in a farm and Ruqayya used to go to him,” she added.

“I didn't see her when she left so I expected she had gone to her father. Ruqayya is a small girl, how could she stab someone?”

Israeli settlements have been the target of much of the recent violence in the West Bank

Photos from the scene appeared to show a knife on the ground near Ruqayya’s body, which was covered by a plastic sheet as forensics officers continued their investigations.

It was the latest in a series of Palestinian attacks and deaths in a surge of violence that started last October.

Since the start of that month, 27 Israelis have died in stabbings, shootings and car rammings, while at least 155 Palestinians have been killed by security forces, including 95 said to be attempting or carrying out attacks.

Many of the Palestinian assailants have been teenagers. On Sunday, an Israeli mother of six was stabbed to death at her home in a West Bank settlement and a 15-year-old Palestinian was arrested for the attack.

The following day, Israeli troops shot and wounded a 17-year-old Palestinian who had stabbed a pregnant Israeli woman in another settlement.

The bloodshed comes amid frustration over the collapse of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and the growth of Jewish settlements on land Palestinians seek for an independent state, although Israeli politicians have blamed “incitement” by Palestinian politicians.

Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are considered illegal under international law and the United Nations found construction was the “root cause” of escalating violence in a report last year.

A spokesperson for the UN Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices said there was also a perception of a “climate of impunity relating to the activities of the settlers”.

Palestinian labourers have been banned from entering the settlements, where an estimated 11,000 Palestinians work, as road closures, movement restrictions, raids and arrests continue in the ongoing security crackdown.

Additional reporting by Reuters

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments