Israel probe clears officer who shot teen attackers
April 24 2017 07:46 PM
Hadeel  Awad (L) and Norhan Awad  in Qalandiya refugee camp
Hadeel Awad (L) and Norhan Awad in Qalandiya refugee camp. File picture


An Israeli criminal investigation has cleared a policeman who shot two Palestinian teenage girls when they stabbed a man with scissors in 2015, the justice ministry said Monday.
Hadeel Awad, 14, and her 16-year-old cousin Norhan stabbed the elderly man in a market in central Jerusalem in November that year, during a spate of Palestinian stabbing attacks.
They were then shot by an off-duty police officer.
Hadeel Awad died, while her cousin survived despite being seriously wounded and was later convicted of attempted murder.
Rights groups said at the time the officer's response was disproportionate and the justice ministry announced a review.
Security camera footage showed the two girls in school uniform chasing a man with scissors before being shot.
The footage showed both girls shot and on the ground.
The policeman ran back towards one of them -- apparently Norhan -- and opened fire despite her being curled in a ball.
Lawyers for the policeman argued he was concerned the girls may have been wearing explosive belts.
A justice ministry review sided with the officer, concluding his use of force was "not unreasonable" since he believed the perpetrators posed a danger to himself and others and acted to "neutralise the risk," a statement from the ministry read.
The case would now be handed to the police who would examine the officer's action from professional and disciplinary point of view, the statement said.
A wave of unrest which erupted in October 2015 has claimed the lives of 261 Palestinians, 41 Israelis, two Americans, one Jordanian, an Eritrean, a Sudanese and a Briton, according to an AFP count.
Most of the Palestinians killed were carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks, Israeli authorities say.
Others were shot dead during protests or clashes, while some were killed in Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip.
The violence has greatly subsided in recent months.

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