According to Palestinian medical and security sources on Tuesday, the 36-year-old married mother of five, Haifa Hindiya, was shot shortly after arriving at the Hawara checkpoint, south of Nablus, wielding a knife.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said: "During an attempt to control the Palestinian ... thinking she might stab someone else, the force opened fire at the lower part of her body."

The spokeswoman gave no indication as to what might have prompted the attack.

But a Palestinian witness, who did not want to give his name, said soldiers hit the mother-of-five with their guns when she was on the ground.

"They hit her with their guns several times. She tried to stand up immediately. Two soldiers then opened fire at her and killed her," the witness said.

Fatal injury 

Palestinian security sources and witnesses said Hindiya was seriously wounded and treated on the scene by Red Crescent paramedics but died of her injuries.

The soldier was lightly to moderately wounded and evacuated to an Israeli hospital, an army spokeswoman said.

The Palestinian's woman death raised the overall number of people killed to 4841 since the start of the intifada five years ago.