‘Suicide by soldier’ Palestinian girl freed by military court

Army finds no evidence teenager who approached checkpoint and was shot in leg had planned an attack; she told investigators ‘I came to die’

Security guards shoot a 13-year-old Palestinian girl in the leg as she refused to halt at the Eliyahu Crossing in the West Bank, on September 21, 2016. (Defense Ministry)
Security guards shoot a 13-year-old Palestinian girl in the leg as she refused to halt at the Eliyahu Crossing in the West Bank, on September 21, 2016. (Defense Ministry)

A teenage girl who was shot by Israeli security guards at a West Bank checkpoint, in an apparent suicide attempt, was released from custody on Thursday.

Thirteen-year-old Bara’a Ramadan Owaisi from Qalqilya was freed by an Israeli military court, according to the Palestinian Ma’an news agency. The court found there was no evidence that she had attempted any attack; nor had she been in possession of a weapon.

On Wednesday morning she had approached the guards at the checkpoint, in the northern West Bank. When she ignored their calls for her to halt, one of them shot her in the leg, the Defense Ministry said.

“The girl approached the vehicle crossing by foot, holding a bag,” arousing the suspicion of the security guards, the statement said.

They “ordered her to stop and even fired warning shots into the air,” the ministry said, but when the teenager continued approaching despite the calls to halt, the guards “shot her in the legs in order to stop her.” She was lightly injured.

During an initial investigation of the incident, the teenager said, “I came to die,” according to the ministry.

A video circulating online appeared to depict the moment of Wednesday’s shooting.

لحظة اطلاق النار على طفلة فلسطينية قرب قلقيلية صباح اليوم بزعم الطعن

Posted by ‎Ramallah News – رام الله الإخباري‎ on Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The past year of Palestinian attacks has seen several instances in which teenagers appeared to provoke gunfire from Israeli security forces in order to commit suicide.

According to sources within the Israel Defense Forces, often terrorist attacks are a form of “suicide by cop,” or “suicide by soldier.”

“Most of the people have personal problems with their families or they themselves are unbalanced,” a senior IDF officer in the Central Command told The Times of Israel.

Owaisi’s aunt, Rasha Owaisi, 23, was shot dead at the same checkpoint last November when she brandished a knife and approached the guards there. The aunt had left a suicide note for her family.

Ma’an note that Owaisi is still being treated in Kfar Saba’s Meir Hospital, and will be visited there by a lawyer from the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society.

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