Israeli forces killed two Palestinians, a woman and a minor, Wednesday morning at Qalandia checkpoint in Jerusalem after the female threw a knife at border officials, according to a preliminary Israeli police investigation.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health identified the deceased as Mariam Salah Abu Ismail, 23, from the village of Beit Surik outside of Ramallah, and Ibrahim Taha Waylough, 16. Their relation is unknown.
Police spokesperson Luba Samri said the pair were shot with deadly force after walking through driving lanes of the checkpoint. The incident began when they were approached by Israeli authorities who instructed the two Palestinians to leave the car path and present their hands, which were not visible at the time.
The Palestinians then set off away from the checkpoint as if to leave the area, when Abu Ismail pivoted back towards the soldiers and threw a knife at them. Samri said the Israeli forces then opened fire, killing the two.
Samri added a second and identical blade was found inside of Abu Ismail’s purse.
A spokesperson for Palestinian Red Crescent Society told Mondoweiss two ambulances were dispatched to transport the Palestinians, one on the Jerusalem side of the checkpoint and one on the West Bank side. However, Israeli forces closed the checkpoint and surrounding vicinity of the shooting.
“Were not able to access their condition,” said spokesperson Erab al-Fuqaha whose medical teams were not told at the time that the two Palestinians were already killed.
Witnesses told local media Israeli police then fired several rounds into the two Palestinians. The incident continued with clashes between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces who fired tear gas and stun grenades.
Many Palestinian bystanders shared images on social media of the killed pair’s bodies laying on the ground in the car lane of the checkpoint, and later being loaded into an Israeli ambulance under a white drape.
Qalandia is largest checkpoint and the main thoroughfare between the West Bank and Jerusalem. It is often congested and hosts roadways for vehicle crossings, and two additional footpaths for pedestrians. Palestinians who hold West Bank identity cards are forbidden to cross outside of the walkways. Only foreign nationals, Israeli citizens and Palestinians with Jerusalem identification cards can access Jerusalem through the car lanes.
Since the beginning of last October when violence escalated in the region, Palestinians have killed at least 30 Israelis in attacks, and Israelis have killed more than 190 Palestinians.