Unarmed Palestinian woman killed by Israeli troops near Bethlehem
A Palestinian woman was shot dead by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank town of Husan on Sunday morning, according to Palestinian health officials.
The Israeli army said the woman had approached Israeli soldiers “in a suspicious manner,” and declined to comment on whether or not she was armed. However, an official confirmed to The Times of Israel that nothing was found on the woman’s person to indicate that she sought to commit an attack.
“The force opened fire on her as part of a suspect arrest procedure that included firing into the air. After she did not stop, the soldiers fired at her lower body,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.
Israeli soldiers administered first aid to the woman, identified as Ghada Ibrahim Ali al-Sabiteen, 47, after which she was rushed by Palestinian medics to a Beit Jala hospital, where she died of her wounds.
Tensions have risen sharply between Israel and the Palestinians in recent weeks against the backdrop of repeated terror attacks in Israeli cities that left 13 dead. The army has stepped up its West Bank activities in an attempt to crack down on the spiraling violence.
Taha Hamamra, a member of the Husan local council, told The Times of Israel that Sabiteen was shot at a checkpoint set up by the Israeli army inside the village.
“[The soldiers] told her to stop, she kept going, and they shot,” Hamamra said, confirming the Israeli account.
Hamamra said Sabiteen was a widow and a mother of six who lived with her children and parents in the small village. She had lived in Jordan for years before returning to the West Bank after her husband’s death, Hamamra said.
Israeli security forces have in the past noted multiple cases of Palestinians — often women — attempting so-called “suicide by cop” by acting in a suspicious or threatening manner with the hope that they will be shot dead by Israeli troops.
On Sunday, amid rising tensions, soldiers conducted raids in Palestinian cities across the West Bank in an attempt to tamp down the violence, and arrested 20. Palestinians clashed with Israeli troops during the raids in Tulkarem, Jenin and Jericho, leading to several injuries.
According to the Israeli army, Palestinian gunmen opened fire on troops in Jenin, while in Jericho Palestinians hurled stones and Molotov cocktails at soldiers.
Four Palestinians were wounded by live Israeli bullets during the Sunday clashes, according to PA health officials. Another seven sustained light injuries.
On Sunday morning, Palestinians vandalized a shrine in Nablus that according to Jewish tradition is the resting place of the Biblical patriarch Joseph.