(JTA) — Israeli police are investigating after officers mistakenly killed a 3-year-old Palestinian girl while responding to a car-ramming attack at a checkpoint near the West Bank settlement of Givat Zeev.
The attack outside Jerusalem on Sunday injured a soldier in Israel’s Border Police, and comes amid a spike in violence in the West Bank that has accompanied the Israel-Hamas war. Another Border Police officer was killed in the northern West Bank city of Jenin on Saturday, and an Israeli airstrike killed seven people during the ensuing evacuation effort — six of whom the Israel Defense Forces said were terrorists.
Sunday’s incident has come as Israelis have questioned their forces’ open-fire regulations in recent weeks. In particular, instances in which Israeli soldiers mistakenly killed three Israeli hostages in Gaza, and in which an Israeli reservist killed a man who had shot a terrorist, have drawn domestic scrutiny of when soldiers are permitted to shoot. The civilian death toll in Gaza has also prompted international scrutiny of Israel’s tactics.
The girl killed on Sunday, according to the Israel Police, was in another car at the intersection where the car-ramming attack occurred, and was shot accidentally. Magen David Adom, the Israeli emergency response organization, said the girl was brought unconscious to paramedics who were treating the wounded officer, and was pronounced dead shortly afterward. The perpetrator of the car-ramming was shot dead at the site of the attack.
The wave of attacks in recent days follows the assassination last week of top Hamas leader Saleh Al-Arouri, who oversaw terrorist efforts by Hamas and other armed cells in the West Bank.
It also comes as Israel has targeted terrorist infrastructure in the West Bank, including tunnels and bomb-making facilities, following Hamas’ Oct. 7 invasion of Israel. In that period, Israeli forces have arrested more than 2,600 Palestinians across the West Bank, including approximately 1,300 allegedly affiliated with Hamas. Since Oct. 7, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry, more than 300 West Bank Palestinians have been killed, a mix of militants and civilians.
Over the weekend, a Palestinian terror group released a video showing dozens of militants preparing for a future invasion of an Israeli city along the lines of Hamas’ attack.