An IDF soldier aiming at Hadeel al-Hashlamun after she refused requests to put down her weapon and lunged at soldiers.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A Palestinian woman armed with a knife concealed under a burka ignored calls by soldiers to put her weapon down for several minutes, before lunging at them and getting shot in response, an IDF investigation into the incident has found.
During the September 23 incident, Hadeel al-Hashlamun, 18, arrived at the Hasam Shoter military checkpoint in Hebron and set off a metal detector, a senior IDF Central Command source said on Tuesday.
“She came under suspicion of the soldiers at the military point, and had been passing through the checkpoint for a number of days,” the source said. “Soldiers told her to place her bag down so that they could check what was inside. She lifted up her left hand to place the bag [on the ground], and the company commander then saw that she had a knife in her right hand.
“That’s how the incident began. He lifted up his firearm, but did not yet open fire, since his life was not in danger. He acted with restraint. If you were to freeze the situation, you would have a company commander facing a woman with a knife in her hand, and she is unwilling to drop the knife.
Someone was filming from the side, and civilians are behind him, because this is a checkpoint that civilians [regularly] pass through.”
According to the investigation, the company commander attempted to peacefully disarm the woman for five minutes, asking her to put down the knife. He fired four bullets at the ground during this time, while telling her to drop the weapon.
“He acted with restraint, and in the end, when he understood that he wasn’t going to solving this, and that the situation was starting to become a threat to him, he fired at her leg,” the source said.
“[Then] she lunged at him with the knife, and he fired at the center of her body. A soldier next to him fired too,” the officer recounted. “In my eyes, there are professional lessons to be learned here, as in every incident.
All in all, the conduct of the soldiers was restrained, and when the situation became life threatening, they fired.”
The troops “acted in accordance with expectations,” the IDF Spokesman Unit said after the incident.
Minutes after the episode occurred, the IDF released a photograph of the knife on the ground.