JERUSALEM // Israeli police shot and killed a pregnant Palestinian woman and her teenage brother yesterday at a checkpoint near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, police and witnesses said.
Israeli police claimed the pair approached the vehicles-only lane at the Qalandiya military checkpoint and tried to carry out an attack. They said the woman was holding a knife and both she and the man walked rapidly towards police and security guards in a vehicles-only lane at the Qalandia checkpoint outside Jerusalem.
Alaa Soboh, a Palestinian bus driver who said he witnessed the incident, said the pair had appeared to be unfamiliar with crossing procedures and were swiftly challenged at the checkpoint.
“As soon as the two crossed, [Israeli forces] started screaming ‘Go back, go back’, and then they began shooting,” he said.
“The first one they shot was the girl, the boy tried to go backward, when they fired seven bullets at him.”
A witness told the Palestinian Maan News Agency that Israeli forces fired more than 15 rounds into the woman’s body.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said Israeli forces denied Palestinian paramedics access tothe woman for medical treatment, the agency reported.
The pair were identified as 24-year-old mother of two Maram Abu Ismail, and her 16-year-old brother Ibrahim Taha. The siblings were from the West Bank town of Qatuna.
The victims’ family, interviewed by Palestinian media, said that Maram was five months pregnant at the time of her death.
No Israelis were injured in the incident.
The military checkpoint where the two were killed is a main access point for Palestinians to cross from the occupied West Bank to Jerusalem and has been the site of a number of alleged, actual, and attempted attacks since October.
In the past six months, Israeli forces have killed at least 193 Palestinians, 130 of whom Israel said were assailants.
Many others were shot dead in clashes and protests.