Father of Palestinian siblings shot during alleged attack calls for release of video


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel Police have declined to release a video showing an attempted stabbing attack at a Jerusalem-area checkpoint in the wake of an investigation that shows civilian security guards, not Border Police officers, killed the alleged attackers — a brother and sister.

Maram Salih Hassan Abu Ismail, 23, and Ibrahim Saleh Taha, 16, were shot dead at the Qalandiya crossing north of Jerusalem on April 27 after Ismail allegedly threw a knife at the guards. A second knife was found on her brother. Ismail, the mother of two, was pregnant, the Palestinian Maan news agency reported.

The police said they cannot release the footage because it is part of an ongoing investigation, according to reports.

The Justice Ministry’s Police Internal Investigations Department announced Sunday that an inquiry determined that the siblings were killed by the civilian guards. Private guards are often stationed at the major crossings between Israel and Palestinian areas to boost security.

The siblings’ father, Salah Abu Ismail, 61, called for the release of the security camera footage, saying it would show his children were not carrying knives and police later planted them on their bodies.

Israel Police released photos of the two knives and a switchblade found on the boy last week following the incident.

Police said the two acted suspiciously and hid their hands as they walked toward the guards in the car lane, which is off-limits to pedestrians. The two ignored shouted orders to stop, according to police, and when they neared the guards, Ismail hurled her knife at one of the police officers, who was not injured. Police and security guards then opened fire on the siblings, killing them, police said.

Salah Ismail told the English-language news website The Times of Israel that his children were not carrying knives and did not intend to attack security personnel. He said his daughter had headed in the wrong direction when she arrived at the checkpoint, leading her and brother, who tried to steer her in the right direction, to be shot and killed.

The siblings did not understand what the security forces were shouting at them in Hebrew when they called on them to stop, Palestinian bystanders told reporters.

Israel has not yet released the bodies of the siblings to the family for burial.

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