Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Palestinian university student shot dead by Israeli soldier in Hebron

A Palestinian teenager has been shot dead by an Israeli soldier at a West Bank checkpoint.

The girl, believed to be 18-year-old university student Hadeek al-Hashlamon, was photographed in the dramatic moments leading up to the confrontation in the city of Hebron.

It is alleged Ms al-Hashlamon attempted to stab the soldier at around 8.30am on Tuesday, as tensions continued to simmer ahead of major Muslim and Jewish religious holidays.

"The attacker attempted to stab a soldier," an Israeli army spokeswoman told Al Jazeera, explaining the unidentified soldier – who was not injured – then opened fire.

An IDF spokesperson for the unit told the Jerusalem Post the woman had received medical care from nearby forces.

However, contradictory videos have emerged – neither of which can be independently verified – one which appears to show the student lying unattended on the ground before being dragged off camera.

Another video, from Shehab News Agency, shows three soldiers briefly checking a woman’s pulse before standing up.

Following the incident, Ms al-Hashlamon was transferred to a nearby Israeli hospital, where she died from her wounds. It has been reported she was shot a number of times, with bullets hitting her “lower extremities” as well as her chest, according to the Israeli army spokesperson.

“The young Palestinian woman who arrived this morning to the hospital's headquarters in Jerusalem, suffering from a very serious injury, died from her wounds this afternoon," the hospital said in a statement.

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) called on international authorities for an independent investigation into Ms al-Hashlamon’s death. more

HRW accuses Egypt of 'mass home demolitions' on Gaza border

CAIRO (AFP) -- Human Rights Watch on Tuesday accused Egypt's military of having "violated international law" through mass home demolitions and evictions over the past two years along its border with Gaza.

Egypt's army in October created a wide buffer zone in the border town of Rafah in the north of the Sinai Peninsula, where it says tunnels have allowed militants and weapons in from the Palestinian enclave.

"The large-scale destruction of at least 3,255 buildings in Rafah to counter the threat of smuggling tunnels was likely disproportionate and did not meet Egypt's obligations under international human rights law or the laws of war," HRW said.

Since July 2013 "the military has arbitrarily razed thousands of homes in a once-populated buffer zone on the border with the Gaza Strip, destroying entire neighborhoods and hundreds of hectares (acres) of farmland," the New York-based rights watchdog said.

Egypt has stepped up its battle against militants who have carried out ongoing attacks in the area since then army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took power from Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in July 2013.

The majority of attacks have been claimed by Sinai Province, a group that declared affiliation with the Islamic State group last year.

Militants in the Sinai have killed scores of policemen and soldiers since Morsi's overthrow, vowing revenge against a crackdown on his supporters that has killed more than 1,400 people and jailed thousands.

"Destroying homes, neighborhoods, and livelihoods is a textbook example of how to lose a counterinsurgency campaign," said Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW head for the Middle East and North Africa.

The Egyptian government has failed to provide adequately for about 3,200 families after their eviction from their homes, HRW said, charging they received little warning of the evictions and inadequate compensation. more