Israeli border guards shot and killed a 16-year-old Bedouin girl Saturday afternoon after she fired several pistol shots at their base, located a short distance from Hura, the Israeli south Negev town where she lived.
The girl, identified as Basma Awad al-Nabiri, arrived at the base wearing traditional Bedouin dress, which initially led the border guards to believe she wasn’t a threat. However, that quickly changed after she pulled her gun out and began firing four or five shots at a sentry who then pushed her back.
“She seemed dazed, disconnected from reality,” the sentry said. “I spoke to her in Arabic. I told her that it wasn’t worth it to keep shooting and hurting people. I tried to soften her, to convince her to throw away the gun, that we wouldn’t hurt her.”
While he tried coaxing her to give up, he also called for backup, as she reportedly ran for cover and continued firing. The sentry and other backup guards who arrived on the scene kept trying to coax her to lay down her weapon.
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However, she refused to lay down her pistol and kept shooting until an arriving Israeli officer shot and killed her, while the sentry and other border guards took cover.
Israeli intelligence remains skeptical that she acted alone and on her own initiative.
“It is unlikely that a teenage girl would perpetrate a terror attack on her own initiative without someone in [her] town brainwashing her, providing her with a handgun and teaching her to shoot,” said a high-ranking officer of the Israeli intelligence who is investigating the attack. “Our goal is to get to whomever sent her.”
Israeli investigators confiscated the girl’s computer and papers containing correspondence she had engaged in with terrorist groups such as al-Qaida and others. She reportedly received information on how to perpetrate the attack on related Web sites.
Her notebooks, seized by Israeli police, contained poems about her desire to be a “martyr” and about her anger over the Arab world’s failure to destroy Israel.
According to her teachers, she attended to the Amal Hura high school, where she was an outstanding member of a program for gifted students.
Israeli police said yesterday they had arrested the girl’s uncle, brother and mother on the assumption they had advance knowledge of the attack. Some in Israel are saying such an attack by a Bedouin is unprecedented.
David Bedein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org