Tel Aviv (TeleSUR) – “Why do you continue to tell lies? What did that girl do? What did she do? Do you actually want peace?” one bystander shouted at Israeli police.
Israeli border police shot and killed 16-year-old Fatima Afif Abd al-Rahman Hjeiji in occupied East Jerusalem Sunday evening, with witnesses saying she was “executed in cold blood,” Palestinian media outlet Ma’an reported.
The teen was pelted with some 20 bullets outside the Old City, with Israeli police alleging that she was armed with a knife and had attempted to attack them. Eyewitnesses, however, had a different account, saying that Hjeiji had been standing near Damascus Gate, more than 30 feet from the cadre of Israeli border police, before she was killed.
“One of the soldiers started to shout ‘knife! knife!’ and moments after that, about five soldiers opened fire at her from every direction,” the witness told Ma’an.
The first bullets hit her chest and she fell to the ground, “but Israeli soldiers continued to fire at her back,” the witness account continued.
Other witnesses told the outlet that a parked car nearby was riddled with bullets, highlighting the extent of indiscriminate force that was used on the teenage girl, who was allegedly armed with only a knife.
As bystanders attempted to circle Hjeiji’s body, Israeli forces blocked off the area, attacking the crowd with pepper spray. One man sustained burns to his face from the pepper spray attack and a 9-year-old child was badly bruised after falling over when he and a group of teenagers were chased by mounted police officers.
One bystander, Ma’an reported, confronted Israeli police by shouting,“Why do you continue to tell lies? What did that girl do? What did she do? Do you actually want peace?”
Bystanders also told the outlet the number of instances in which Israeli security forces have planted knives on slain Palestinians in order to claim that they were acting in self-defense. However, a farewell letter to the victim’s family was found near the teen’s body, where she had signed off with the word “shahida,” the Arabic word for martyr.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said Hjeiji was from a town near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.
According to Ma’an, Hjeiji has become the 20th Palestinian killed by Israelis since the beginning of the year, in a period that has seen a number of attacks against Israeli apartheid forces by those living under an ongoing brutal occupation and military rule.
The news agency has also reported that more than 111 Palestinians were killed in 2016, almost all of them at the hands of Israeli forces. The year was also the deadliest for Palestinian children in more than a decade with at least 33 were killed by Israeli fire, according to a recent report from Defense for Children International Palestine.