On Sunday morning Israeli colonial settlement leader Gershon Mesika rammed a teenage girl with his car, claiming ‘she had a knife’. When the girl, Ashraqat Taha Qatanany, 16, from Nablus, fell to the ground, another Israeli paramilitary settler pulled over and shot her multiple times.While Israeli authorities claim that Mesika ‘thwarted a terror attack’, the claim of Mesika and the other settler that the girl had a knife contradicts other accounts of the incident.

The child did not harm or attempt to harm anyone, and a knife photographed at the scene appears to have been tossed near her dead body.

Gershon Mesika, from Elon Moreh illegal colony, is the former head of the Samaria Regional Council, which is a body organized by Israeli settlers living illegally in the occupied West Bank.

He rammed the child with his car, landing the car in the ditch and leaving the girl lying prone on the ground. A paramilitary settler from the car behind Mesika’s then got out of his car and fired multiple shots at the girl.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Israeli paper Yedioth Ahranoth reported that the shooting was done by an Israeli driver of a vehicle behind Mesika’s. A later article by the Israeli news agency Arutz Sheva claimed that she was shot ‘by soldiers on the scene’.

A number of recent incidents in which Palestinians were shot and killed have been questioned by Palestinians and their supporters, as the eyewitness reports that unarmed Palestinian civilians were shot by Israeli paramilitary settlers have been reported in the Israeli and international media as ‘thwarted attacks’. In several cases, the Israeli military appears to have taken credit for shootings that were actually carried out by paramilitary settler groups.