A Palestinian woman said to be the mother of a man killed last year was shot dead at the entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City after she allegedly attempted to stab Israeli police, officials and witnesses said.
Photos posted on social media showed a middle-aged woman lying face down after the attack outside the gate, a main entrance to the Old City.
“I didn’t see a knife, all I saw was that she tripped and grabbed the police barrier and was shot two times,” Mummad Shalodi, a witness at the scene, told Al Jazeera.
Israeli police spokeswoman Lubna al-Samri said in an initial statement the woman attempted to stab a police officer with a pair of scissors at the Old City’s Damascus Gate, and she was “neutralised”.
Still photos from security footage provided by police show a middle-aged woman with a pair of scissors raised over her head.
Shalodi told Al Jazeera he never saw the woman raise her hands and was skeptical about the veracity of the images.
The incident occurred at Damascus Gate, a heavily guarded entrance to the Old City and the scene of similar violence in the past.
The Palestinian health ministry identified the dead woman as Siham Nimr, 49, from the Shuafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem.
The Palestinian official news agency WAFA said she was the mother of Mustafa Nimr, a 27-year-old shot dead by Israeli police in September during a night raid in Jerusalem’s Shuafat refugee camp.
Police initially claimed he was an attacker, but later admitted that was untrue and he and his cousin Ali had merely tried to evade a police spot check near Shuafat while driving.
Ali was later charged with manslaughter, with prosecutors saying his erratic driving made officers shoot.
A wave of violence that broke out in October 2015 has claimed the lives of 258 Palestinians, 40 Israelis, two Americans, one Jordanian, an Eritrean, and a Sudanese national, according to a count by AFP news agency.
According to local media, Nimr is the first woman killed by Israeli forces in 2017.
Human rights groups have accused Israeli security forces of using excessive force to subdue attackers in certain cases, most of which have been carried out by lone-wolf assailants, many of them young.
Reviews by the army of two fatal shootings of attackers in October found the use of deadly force could have been avoided.
Additional reporting by Ibrahim Husseini