A Border Guard officer shot and killed a Palestinian youth Wednesday after he threatened troops stationed near the Cave of the Patriarchs in the West Bank city of Hebron, with what later turned out to be a toy gun.And there was no way to know that the gun wasn't real. The boy may have even decided to become a shahid (martyr) and risk death for the sake of jihad. In that case, he knew perfectly well what he was getting into.
An initial inquiry derived that the Palestinian walked up to the troops stationed at the checkpoint and pulled a gun on one of the officers. A female Border Guard officer noticed the event and fired at him, killing him. [...]
"At about 6:30 pm a Palestinian youth arrived at a Border Guard post near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. When one of the soldiers asked him to present identification, the youth attacked him, pulling a gun and holding it to the soldier's head.
"A female Border Guard officer standing at the post saw what was going on and opened fire. The youth was critically injured and rushed to a local hospital, where he died of his wounds."
According to the statement, "A riot followed the incident, but was controlled by the troops at the scene. A military sapper later determined that the weapon was a metal toy gun. The Judea and Samaria Police are looking into the matter."
'I only had seconds to react'
The soldier who shot the teen recounted the event: "I saw the Palestinian pull a gun out of his back pocket and hold it up to the other soldier. I knew I only had a few seconds so I cocked my weapon and looked for the right angle – so not to hurt the soldier."
According to the soldier, she was a few yards away, at the checkpoint post, during the incident. "He (the soldier) asked a Palestinian teenager for his ID. I stepped out to fill out a checkpoint report and I saw the Palestinian attack the soldier and take out a gun."
She said she fired three shots. "I knew that if I did anything wrong the other soldier could get killed. I know this was the mission – that I had to do it for my friend."
According to the young soldier, fear made way to focus. "I think it was the adrenalin. The other soldier said that he owes me his life. But there's no heroism here. This is what we're trained to do."
Border Guard Commander Amos Yakov said that the officer who shot the teen "Acted with professional resolve to end the event and I commend her for it. This is exactly who we expect our troops to act – this is what we train them for."
Update: the soldier received death threats online but is unfazed:
By Thursday morning, pro-Palestinian forums were awash with un-pixilated photos of N (whose identity in Israel is blocked from publication by the military censor) with her full name included. A number of these forums, including at least one Facebook page, were flooded with threats and calls for revenge against the border patrol officer.I'm glad she's not scared of those cowards. I hope she'll go on to get a major promotion to a high-ranking official.
When asked if she was worried about the death threats she said “I managed to take a look at them here and there but I’m not afraid. Of course they’d write things like this so I’d feel bad about what happened but I know I did the right thing. This is what they taught us, to fire at the terrorist in order to neutralize them, fake gun or not.”
N, who serves in the Hebron area as a Border Patrol commander, said she was showered with compliments by commanding officers and that although she is supposed to finish her service in a year and a half, after last night she is considering reenlisting and applying to be an officer.
With tensions high in the West Bank after the incident, which followed a series of violent encounters between Israeli security forces and Palestinians this week, N said she is not afraid that someone will try to hurt her out in the field or in her civilian life.
“This is our mission and if we face a threat we know how to deal with it. All of us, the police, border police, IDF, we’re all in this together to protect the Jewish residents and our country. Maybe there are threats here or there but it doesn’t bother me.“