Israeli officer questioned in shooting of Palestinian attacker

JERUSALEM -- Israeli authorities on Sunday said they have opened an investigation into the actions of a police officer who fatally shot a 16-year-old Palestinian girl during a stabbing attack in Jerusalem last month.

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In a statement, the Justice Ministry said it was looking into whether the officer used excessive force while stopping a stabbing attack by two teenage Palestinian girls.

In the Nov. 23 incident, the 16-year-old girl, along with a 14-year-old accomplice, stabbed and wounded a 70-year-old man with scissors before they were shot by the officer.

The ministry said the attorney general had requested the investigation into claims that the officer shot the 16-year-old girl after she had already been restrained. During questioning, the officer said he believed the girl still posed a threat, the statement said.

The incident was filmed by a security camera and the footage was released to the media. The younger girl was wounded.

Palestinians have accused Israel of using excessive force during a three-month wave of violence, and Sunday's announcement appeared to be the first official investigation into the actions of Israeli security forces during the unrest. Israel says its tactics are a legitimate response to stabbings and other attacks.

A total of 19 Israelis and an American seminary student have been killed by Palestinian attacks, mostly stabbings, while at least 112 have been killed on the Palestinian side, including 75 people said by Israel to be attackers.

In the latest unrest, Israeli forces shot a young Palestinian woman Sunday after she allegedly attempted to stab a pedestrian in the West Bank.

The military said the woman was evacuated to a Jerusalem hospital. It did not say how close the woman got to her target.

The incident occurred Sunday in Hebron, a frequent flashpoint of violence. Several hundred Israeli settlers live in heavily guarded enclaves in the city, which is home to 270,000 Palestinians.

Israel says the violence is fueled by a Palestinian campaign of lies and incitement. The Palestinians say it is the result of frustrations rooted in Israel's nearly 50-year occupation.

Late Sunday, the Israeli army said Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket that landed in an open area of southern Israel. No injuries were reported.


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