(Beit Ummar) Three Israelis were injured on Saturday in the occupied West Bank in a car-ramming attack whose suspected perpetrator was killed by soldiers, a new episode of violence after a relative calm.
Less than 24 hours earlier, Israeli police shot and killed an Arab Israeli who they said grabbed a policeman’s gun and fired it in Jerusalem’s Old City.
This new violence puts an end to a relative pause in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, since the beginning of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan ten days ago.
The IDF said a “terrorist” carried out a car-ramming attack near Beit Ummar in the southern West Bank before being neutralized. A spokesperson later confirmed to AFP that he had died.
According to Magen David Adom, the Israeli equivalent of the Red Cross, three Israelis were injured, one seriously.
In a statement, the Palestinian Authority identified the slain man as Mohammed Baradyah, a 23-year-old Palestinian.
Beit Ummar is located in the southern West Bank, a Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967.
The Israeli police had reported earlier in the night from Friday to Saturday of an incident near the Chain Gate, one of the accesses to the esplanade of the Mosques, in East Jerusalem, Palestinian sector of the Holy City, annexed by Israel.
Officers detained a “suspect” and while he was being questioned, “the terrorist suddenly attacked” one of them, grabbed his gun and fired, police said in a statement. .
The police “who were in danger […] shot him,” police said, adding that doctors later pronounced him dead.
The man killed was identified as Mohammed al-Assibi, a 26-year-old medical student who lived in Houra, a Bedouin town in southern Israel. His family rejected the police version and demanded to see surveillance camera footage, according to local media.
The police said there were none.
Mansour Abbas, the leader of the Arab Israeli Raam (moderate Islamist) party represented in parliament, disputed the police response that there was no surveillance video footage of the incident.
“This is an attempt to hide the truth,” he said on Twitter, calling for an immediate investigation.
The High Monitoring Committee, an organization representing Israel’s Arab minority, announced “a general strike and a day of mourning” on Sunday following the “execution” of Mohammed al-Assibi.
Police maintained their version of events and issued another statement saying that “the attack itself was not recorded on security cameras or those carried by the police.”
The incident came after a huge crowd of Palestinian worshipers gathered at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday for the great midday prayer on the second Friday of Ramadan.
The Israel Police, which guards the entrances to the esplanade, said more than 100,000 worshipers gathered there and more than 2,000 police were mobilized across the city.
Since the beginning of the year, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has claimed the lives of at least 88 Palestinians (including combatants and civilians, including minors), an Israeli Arab, 14 other Israelis (including members of the Israeli forces and civilians) and a Ukrainian, according to an AFP count compiled from official Israeli and Palestinian sources.