Palestinian officer killed after shooting Israeli soldiers

Israeli soldiers stand by after a Palestinian officer was shot dead at a military checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah on 31 October.

Shadi Hatem APA images

A Palestinian man was killed after firing on Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint near Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank, on Monday.

Three Israeli soldiers were reported wounded, one moderately and two lightly.

The slain Palestinian, who was armed with a Kalashnikov rifle, was identified as Muhammad Turkman, 25. Turkman is the 12th youth from Qabatiya village, in the northern West Bank, to be slain in the past year.

Medics with the Palestine Red Crescent Society told media that Israeli forces prevented them from accessing Turkman to provide first aid.

Israeli forces also raided a gas station near the checkpoint, confiscating security camera equipment that may have captured images of the incident.

Turkman was an officer with the Palestinian Authority police. Israel has relied on the PA to quell a new phase of confrontation between Palestinians and Israeli forces that has left approximately 250 Palestinians and 35 Israelis dead since the beginning of October 2015.

Monday’s deadly incident took place near the Beit El settlement, which houses the Israeli Civil Administration, the bureaucratic arm of the military occupation, and its district office.

The checkpoint where Turkman was shot dead is known by Palestinians as the VIP checkpoint, as only authorized persons are able to cross it.

Attacks by PA security forces

Exactly eight months earlier, Amjad Sukkari, a member of the Palestinian Authority security forces, was killed at the same checkpoint after opening fire on soldiers.

In February, Mansour Yasser Abdulaziz Shawamra, also a member of the security forces, was shot dead after he and another Palestinian allegedly attempted to carry out an armed attack outside the Damascus Gate to Jerusalem’s Old City.

Mazen Oraibi, a Palestinian security forces officer, was shot dead at a Jerusalem-area checkpoint last December after he opened fire on soldiers with his legally issued handgun, wounding two.

Turkman’s family told media that Palestinian security forces had raided Turkman’s home hours before he carried out his attack, confiscating weapons and ammunition.

Hamas lauded the attack and called for “greater involvement of the Palestinian security forces in the Palestinian uprising.”

The mother of Khalid Ikhlayil, slain the previous day, mourns in her Beit Ommar home on 31 October.

Wisam Hashlamoun APA images

Monday’s deadly incident came after Ahmad Ayman Hamid, 21, from Ein Yabrud village near Ramallah, allegedly attempted to ram soldiers with his car at a checkpoint near Ofra settlement on Friday night. Israeli forces fired on Hamid, critically injuring him.

“Witnesses highlighted that Israeli forces on the main road of the village opened fire at Hamid while he was in his car, and left him to bleed before taking him to a hospital later on,” the Ma’an News Agency reported.

“Locals added that Israeli forces raided Hamid’s family home in the predawn hours of Saturday morning and interrogated his family.”

On Sunday, Israeli occupation forces killed Khalid Ahmad Elayyan Ikhlayil, 23, after he allegedly rammed his car into a group of soldiers near the West Bank village of Beit Ommar.

Three soldiers were reportedly lightly injured during the incident.

Israeli forces killed a 15-year-old boy, Khalid Bahr, in Beit Ommar village earlier this month. The Israeli military admitted that soldiers were not in danger when they shot the teen from a distance of 65 feet as he was running away from them.

Killed after brakes failed

Defense for Children International - Palestine stated last week that a witness to the slaying of another Palestinian child denied Israel’s claim that Firas Khadour, 17, was attempting to attack soldiers with his car when he was killed in September.

The witness, who was riding in the car with Khadour when he was killed, said that the vehicle had faulty brakes which failed when it approached the Kiryat Arba settlement near the West Bank city of Hebron, causing it to crash into a bus stop. After the car was stopped, soldiers opened fire on it from multiple directions, killing Khadour and critically wounding the witness.

“Firas began slowing down, but the brakes were not responding at all. The car’s speed was increasing, and he tried to use the handbrakes to stop but that did not work out either,” Raghad, the witness, told DCIP. “I was very scared, and the scary part was that we were approaching the entrance of the settlement.”

Three other children were killed by Israeli forces in the days before and after Khadour’s slaying.

“In several cases, DCIP found that children did not pose a direct, mortal threat at the time they were killed, suggesting that Israeli forces are implementing a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy,” the group stated.

“Israel routinely defends or denies using lethal force against children and accountability is extremely rare.”


Maureen Clare Murphy

Maureen Clare Murphy's picture

Maureen Clare Murphy is senior editor of The Electronic Intifada.