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Palestinian teen shot dead at Israeli military checkpoint in stabbing attempt

Aug. 19, 2017 6:15 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 20, 2017 4:15 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli border police shot and killed a Palestinian teenager at Israel's Zaatara military checkpoint in the northern occupied West Bank on Saturday afternoon, with Israeli authorities alleging the youth attempted to carry out a knife attack on Israeli forces when he was shot.

While initial reports suggested that an Israeli soldier was lightly injured after being stabbed by the Palestinian, it was later revealed that the border police officer was in fact wounded by friendly fire.

Israel's emergency medical service Magen David Adom reported that the MDA and Israeli army medics treated the Israeli soldier, an 18-year-old male, who was in a mild condition.

Al-Samri said that the alleged assailant, a 17-year-old Palestinian, had approached border guard forces stationed at the Nablus-area checkpoint, "and when they saw he was carrying a bag in his hand, they started undertake procedures to arrest him."

The youth then allegedly brandished a knife "and started to battle an officer before other officers fired at him and neutralized him, and he was announced dead on the scene." She released a statement shortly after saying the Palestinian was still alive but in a critical condition. Minutes later, a further statement confirmed he had succumbed to his injuries.

The Israeli police spokeswoman also provided a photo of the knife allegedly found on the youth, who was identified by local sources as Qutayba Ziad Zahran from Illar village in the Tulkarem district.

"A border guard police officer was taken to a hospital after he was hit by shrapnel in the foot," al-Samri said in the statement, presumably referring to Israeli friendly fire.

An eyewitness told Ma'an that a large number of Israeli soldiers arrived to the scene and closed Zaatara checkpoint, denying passage to Palestinians in either direction.

A photo of the slain youth later circulated on social media.
17-year-old Qutayba Ziad Zahran

Shortly after Zahran was confirmed dead, a public Facebook post believed to be a will written by the teen earlier on Saturday was widely shared, in which he announced his intentions to carry out an attack.

He also shared a photo depicting a “martyr's funeral,” with a body shrouded in a green cloth, presumably a Hamas flag, being carried by a crowd of gunmen wearing green headbands. “How I long for a procession like this!”, text splashed across the image said.

After citing a quote from the Quran about fighting for God's cause, Zahran wrote:

Dear family members… I have good news for you.

My precious father, forgive me.

Here I have achieved my wish and I am about to die a martyr for the sake of God, armed with the determination of mujahidin (fighters). I have left this mortal world, rushing to the immortal life in paradise where I will meet God's chosen prophet, peace be upon him, alongside prophets, companions, and virtuous people. You should know, my family, that I haven't left you because I am fed up with you, or because you were bad to me, but only because martyrdom has called upon me after I have been wishing to obtain it for a while.

My precious mother, forgive me.

God's consent is dependent on your consent, and my wish won't be realized without this condition. My wish won't be complete unless you remain patient and sacrifice me for God's reward by considering me a martyr who died fighting for the sake of God, to make sure that God's word is the highest word, and to take revenge for the martyrs of Palestine. Don't cry over losing me, but rather utter trilling cries of joy because this is your martyr son's wedding.

My beloved brothers, forgive me.

Be helpful to your mother and father and be patient and sacrifice me for God's reward. Be firm and support each other, and forgive me if I had ever erred against any of you. Continue to cling to God's religion and hold firmly to the rope of God.

My beloved sisters, forgive me.

Don't forget what I asked you a few days before I left for the sake of God. Stay by my mother's side and be sisters to Aisha and al-Khansaa.

Forgive me everybody. If I failed to be helpful enough in life in this world, I won't fail to be unhelpful to you on the day of judgment, God willing. The prophet promised that a martyr will intercede for the benefit of 70 of his family members.

My will:

My will for you, my family, is that nobody cries during my procession to paradise, but rather distribute dates and utter trilling cries of joy during my martyrdom wedding.

And finally, I will say: see you soon in a paradise, whose width is only equal to heaven and earth and has been prepared for God-fearing people.

Our last prayer is thanks be to God, the lord of the worlds.

Living martyr,

Qutayba Ziad Zahran

The Israeli army's spokesperson for Arabic-language media, Avichay Adraee, shared a screenshot of the post on Twitter with the caption: “The terrorists will is untrue! If your parents forgive you, god wont forgive you, because suicide and murder are against God’s teachings. As the proverb goes, ‘the one who was killed by his own hands has no mercy.’”

Zahran was the 54th Palestinian to be killed by Israelis since the start of the year, 13 of whom were killed over a two-week period in July during alleged attacks or in clashes following protests against Israeli security measures at Al-Aqsa mosque. Since the beginning of 2017, 13 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians.

Though Israeli forces have claimed that Palestinians were allegedly attempting to carry out attacks in a majority of instances when Palestinians were killed, rights groups have disputed Israel's version of events in a number of cases, and argued that many alleged attackers could have been subdued in a non-lethal manner.

Scores of Palestinians have been killed in the past two years for alleged or actual attacks on Israelis, and during clashes with Israeli forces since a wave of unrest began in October 2015. However, activists have pointed out that Palestinians experience routine Israeli violence on a daily basis regardless of any “upticks” of violence.

Palestinians have cited the daily frustrations and regular Israeli military violence imposed by Israel's nearly half century occupation of the Palestinian territory as main drivers for Palestinian attacks on Israelis.
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