Alessandro Parini, the Italian tourist killed in Friday’s Tel Aviv car-ramming, was not found to have sustained any gunshot wounds, the Institute of Forensic Medicine confirmed on Sunday, while police sources reportedly confirmed that the incident was a terror attack.
Despite earlier reports in the Italian media claiming a bullet had been found during a CT scan of Parini’s body, the Institute of Forensic Medicine ruled out the possibility, confirming that the force of the impact had killed the tourist.
A police officer and municipal inspectors who were near the scene of the alleged attack when the car overturned had initially claimed they saw the driver, Yousef Abu Jaber, “reach [for] a rifle-like object that was with him,” leading to initial suspicions that he had rammed Parini before proceeding to shoot him.
The Magen David Adom ambulance service also initially indicated that the victim had suffered gunshot wounds, before retracting the statement. The only person shot at the scene of the attack was Abu Jaber, according to medics and police.
Law enforcement sources later told Hebrew-language media that the object was a toy gun. However, they have not distributed any images of the purported replica weapon.
The alleged attacker, Abu Jaber, 45, was an Israeli citizen, father of six, and resident of Kafr Qassem, east of Tel Aviv. He had no known prior security offenses.
His body is set to undergo an autopsy at the Institute of Forensic Medicine, with officials waiting for the green light from Abu Jaber’s family and police.
The procedure will investigate the possibility Abu Jaber was under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or that he suffered a heart attack at the time of the incident, the Ynet news outlet said Sunday.
However, police sources confirmed that the incident was indeed a terror attack, and not a traffic accident, the Haaretz daily said Sunday.
A spokesperson for the Shin Bet security agency, which is leading the investigation, had earlier told The Times of Israel that the car-ramming was being investigated as a terror attack.
Until a year ago, Abu Jaber worked as a janitor at a middle school in Kiryat Ono. Students and teachers informed police that they recognized Abu Jaber from his photos, remembering him as the janitor they had laughed and danced with during his time at the school.
The alleged attacker’s brother, Omar Abu Jaber, said that the incident was a car accident, and not an attack, before accusing police of unnecessarily killing Abu Jaber after the car overturned.
“We saw how he was shot with a burst of bullets while lying on the floor,” he said. “They could have subdued him without killing him — logic says that three armed men could have stopped him alive.”
Abu Jaber’s brother told Haaretz that police on the scene acted as “judge, jury and executioner,” and called on police to release bodycam video.
According to law enforcement officials, Abu Jaber carried out the car-ramming attack Friday evening on Kaufmann Street, leaving a trail of carnage along several hundred meters and into the adjacent Charles Clore Park, a popular seaside promenade.
The incident came amid a spate of terror attacks and a surge in violence. It was the second deadly incident of the day, after a shooting in the West Bank Friday morning killed two sisters and left their mother fighting for her life. The uptick in violence has come as tensions have spiked in recent days following Israeli police incursions into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to quell rioting; on Thursday, Hamas terrorists fired volleys of rockets at Israel from Gaza and Lebanon, authorities said.
Emanuel Fabian and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report