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Two Palestinians shot dead by Israeli guards at West Bank checkpoint

Early reports said Palestinian woman was shot dead while carrying a knife and refusing to stop walking towards a checkpoint
Israeli soldiers stand in front of the graffiti covered controversial separation-barrier during clashes with Palestinians (AFP)

Two Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli border guards at a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank after one was seen allegedly carrying a knife.

Israeli police said the Palestinians were “neutralised” at the Qalandiya military checkpoint near Ramallah after they refused to stop walking towards soldiers while one was carrying a knife.

Police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said a young man and a woman carrying a knife approached the vehicular path leading through the checkpoint and walked quickly towards border police.

Samri said the officers ordered the suspects to stop before opening fire.

A witness told the Palestinian Maan News Agency that Israeli forces fired more than 15 bullets into the woman’s body, who has been identified as 24-year-old Maram Salih Hassan Abu Ismail.

Video footage uploaded to YouTube claiming to be from the scene included allegations that the second casualty – an unnamed young man – walked towards the dead body of Ismail before being shot and killed by Israeli troops.

Palestinian medics told Maan that Israeli forces denied them access to the two Palestinians to offer medical treatment.

Alaa, a witness who works near the checkpoint, told AFP "policemen shouted at them to go back and they seemed not to know what to do any more".

"They shot the girl first and then the man looked like he didn't know what to do, he tried to go back but they shot him too."

Following the shootings, soldiers threw tear-gas canisters to disperse the crowds at the heavily fortified checkpoint on the northern outskirts of Jerusalem.

An Israeli police spokesman said: "Officers and border policemen at the Qalandia checkpoint saw a male and female walking towards the passage for cars only, with the woman's hand concealed in a purse and the man's hand behind his back holding something.

"Police ordered them to stop a number of times without success.

"The female terrorist stopped a short distance from the officers, then walked the other way with the man, when she suddenly turned around to face the officers again, pulled a knife that was in her purse and threw it at an officer near her," she said.

The incident is the latest in a wave of violence that has killed 203 Palestinians and 28 Israelis since last October.

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