‘I came here to die’: Israeli guards shoot unarmed 13yo Palestinian girl at West Bank checkpoint
Israeli guards have shot and injured an unarmed 13-year-old Palestinian girl after she refused to stop at a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank. The area has seen a recent spike in violence with shootings and stabbing attacks occurring in the past few days.
The incident took place at a crossing near the settlement of Alfei Menashe and the Palestinian town of Qalqilya in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday.
The teenager was carrying a bag, which raised suspicion from Israeli guards. She approached the checkpoint on foot, Israel’s Defense Ministry said. The checkpoint is a car-only crossing and does not allow pedestrians to walk through it.
According to the ministry, the girl continued walking to the checkpoint despite guards ordering her to stop and firing warning shots into the air.
"She continued toward the crossing and security officials fired warning shots toward the ground in order to stop her," the ministry said in a statement, cited by AFP.
The girl ignored the warning calls and shots and was then shot in the leg. Some media reports said she was shot as she reached to her shirt. However, no weapons or explosives were discovered in the teenager’s bag by the Israeli forces, the ministry’s statement said.
Video allegedly taken at the moment of the incident was posted by Ramallah news. Although the image is unclear, a sound of the shot fired could be heard.
During questioning, the girl said “I came here to die” to Israeli forces, the ministry said. She was then taken to a hospital. The Palestinian Health Ministry said she sustained moderate injuries.
In a separate incident on Wednesday, a suspect was shot and wounded by a security guard after launching an attack on the Israeli embassy in Ankara, Turkey.
READ MORE: Armed attack on Israeli embassy in Turkey, suspect shot in leg (VIDEO)
Violence between Palestinians and Israelis in the occupied West Bank has recently flared up. Six Palestinians and a Jordanian, all of whom were allegedly attackers, have been killed in similar incidents since Friday and at least nine Israelis have been wounded.
On Tuesday, Israeli forces shot and killed a 16-year-old Palestinian after he stabbed soldiers at a checkpoint at a village west of Hebron. Two other Palestinians were killed by Israeli troops near the Tomb of the Patriarchs, a holy site to both Muslims and Jews in Hebron.
As many as 230 Palestinians, 34 Israelis, two Americans, one Jordanian, an Eritrean and a Sudanese have been killed since October 2015, according to an AFP count. During the last two months of unrest, Israeli security forces killed 105 Palestinians, 65 of whom were said to be attackers. Palestinian assailants killed 19 Israelis as well as one US citizen, Reuters reported.
Israel claims most of the Palestinians killed were carrying out knife, gun, or car-ramming attacks. Palestinian authorities, however, accuse Israel of often using excessive force, saying in many cases those killed posed no threat.
Palestinian leaders say the attackers are acting out of desperation over collapsed peace talks in 2014 and Israeli settlement expansion on territory which Palestinians seek for an independent state.