Security forces were placed on heightened alert in Hebron Thursday morning, Army Radio reported, ahead of the funeral of a 17-year-old Palestinian who was killed by Border PoliceWednesday after he pulled out a fake gun and allegedly threatened an officer near the Cave of the Patriarchs.
Security on high alert in Hebron for possible riots
Following the incident, dozens of Palestinians reportedly clashed with IDF troops, throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at the soldiers.
According to Army Radio, the deceased teenager, Muhammad al-Salaymeh, is the brother of a Palestinian prisoner released as part of the Gilad Schalit deal.
Border police on Wednesday said that al-Salaymeh had raised the suspicion of the officers, and when they asked him for his identification card "he pulled out a gun and pointed it at the head of one of the soldiers."
A Border Police officer at the checkpoint saw what took place, fired at the youngster and critically wounded him. Later, a police sapper determined that the gun was a toy pistol made of metal.
The Border Police officer said Thursday that she had acted quickly out of fear for her colleagues\’ safety, during an interview with Israel Radio.
""I realized within seconds that if I didn\’t act my colleagues would die," she told Israel Radio. "There was no time to verify if it was a real gun."
She said that the two grabbed each other, but she managed to shoot one bulled at the Palestinian, and after another officer tore him away she shot another two bullets.
The officer told Israel Radio that she was not afraid of an investigation into the incident because it was clear to her that she acted correctly.
Thursday\’s heightened alert follows clashes that erupted in Hebron exactly one week ago when a Palestinian mob joined Palestinian police in attacking IDF soldiers on routine patrol in the area, military sources said.
The Palestinian Authority police and the soldiers became involved in mutual pushing, and one of the Palestinian officers reportedly threw a punch.
Soldiers used stun grenades to distance the PA officers. At that stage, a 250-strong crowd rapidly formed and began rioting and throwing rocks, before being dispersed by the small IDF unit.
“This is a serious incident. It is being investigated by the army,” an IDF spokeswoman said.
Army sources said the fact that Palestinian police confronted an IDF patrol is a worrying development.