Driver in fatal 2015 West Bank terror ramming sentenced to life

As judge reads out decision, victim’s wife faints, family shouts at relatives of Palestinian attacker and is removed from room

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

Shaban Titi is brought to the courtroom for his sentence at the Ofer military court near the West Bank city of Ramallah on July 6, 2020. (Flash90)
Shaban Titi is brought to the courtroom for his sentence at the Ofer military court near the West Bank city of Ramallah on July 6, 2020. (Flash90)

A military court in the West Bank sentenced a Palestinian truck driver who killed an Israeli father of seven in a 2015 car-ramming attack to life in prison on Monday.

Shaban Titi had been convicted in 2016 of premeditated manslaughter for running over 54-year-old Avraham Hasano, a charge equivalent to murder in civilian courts.

As the Ofer Military Court judge read out the sentence, Hasano’s family members in the chamber began shouting at Titi’s relatives and had to be removed from the room as the verbal confrontation escalated. Hasano’s wife Ruti briefly passed out amid the commotion.

“During the reading of the sentence, the terrorist smiled and did not look down [in shame]. The sentence is not sufficient and we hope the state will consider the death penalty for every terrorist who dares to hurt a Jew,” Hasano’s brother Meidad told the Kan public broadcaster later Monday.

Titi was arrested by the Shin Bet five months after the attack that killed Avraham Hasano on a West Bank road. A resident of the West Bank village of Dahariya, Titi claimed he ran over Hasano by accident, fleeing the scene out of fear.

According to the indictment, Titi ran over Hasano, after which he dragged him for 37 meters (121 feet), before driving away and leaving the severely injured Israeli on the road.

Images from the scene of the attack showed Hasano emerging from his car brandishing a large wooden club after his vehicle was pelted with rocks by Palestinians near Hebron. He approached the truck, waving the club, and was run over. He was later pronounced dead at the scene.

Titi was initially charged with manslaughter, but Hasano’s family reacted angrily to the reduced charge and immediately filed an ultimately successful petition to change the indictment to a murder charge.

Titi said he attempted to avoid hitting Hasano but did not have enough time to swerve out of the way. Shortly after the incident, he called his Israeli employer to report that he had run someone over.

After the incident, Titi turned himself in to Palestinian police, claiming he had not intended to kill the 54-year-old Israeli father of seven from Kiryat Arba. He had previously been held at the Dahariya police station and then released by the Palestinian Authority, then was arrested by Israeli forces “following extensive intelligence activity,” the Shin Bet said in a statement last month.

The junction where Avraham Hasano (inset) was killed on October 20, 2015, in what the Shin Bet and the IDF allege was a terror attack. (Har Hebron Regional Council)

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