Driver in suspected car-ramming attack turns self in, says it was an accident

Residents of Husan in the West Bank say they have warned in the past of the dangers to IDF soldiers on the Palestinian village’s treacherous roads

Illustrative. Israeli soldiers stand near the scene of a suspected car-ramming attack at the entrance to the village of Husan, in the West Bank, on June 23, 2018. (Flash90)
Illustrative. Israeli soldiers stand near the scene of a suspected car-ramming attack at the entrance to the village of Husan, in the West Bank, on June 23, 2018. (Flash90)

A Palestinian man from the West Bank who is suspected of carrying out a car-ramming attack on Israel Defense Forces soldiers on Saturday night turned himself in hours later and told the Israeli authorities it had been an accident.

Four IDF soldiers on foot patrol were lightly injured when a car with Palestinian license plates ran into them near the entrance to the West Bank village of Husan. On Sunday, two of the soldiers were released from Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, while the other two were kept for observation, a hospital spokesperson said.

The driver, 21, gave himself up to security forces overnight Saturday-Sunday. Video of his surrender to IDF soldiers was shared on social media.

In the video, the alleged driver is seen approaching an IDF checkpoint together with a group of well-wishers. After saying his farewells, the Palestinian man walks toward the soldiers, speaks to them, and is then led away.

According to Hadashot TV news, the driver said he did not intend to ram the car into the IDF foot patrol and maintained it was a traffic accident.

According to the report, the driver is known to security forces and his brother was arrested two days ago.

Likud MK Yehudah Glick posted to his Facebook page a statement he received from residents of the Husan village, in which they sought to explain how the accident happened. Glick said he received the English-language statement from “his friends in Husan” who asked that he publish it.

“Initial reports were that it was a terrorist car ramming attack,” the residents wrote of the incident. “This was not the case. Immediately following the accident, local Palestinian residents rendered assistance to the soldiers and called for a Palestinian ambulance.”

“The driver gave himself up to the police and stated that it was an accident and he was afraid that if he stayed, he would have been shot by the soldiers (which would probably have happened).

“We have warned the army commanders of the dangers for the soldiers walking in middle of the local streets. The streets are dark with lots of blind bends and the drivers don’t exactly stay in their lanes, so an accident like this was waiting to happen.”

A wounded Israeli soldier is evauated at the Sha’arei Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem, after suffering an injury in a suspected car-ramming in the West Bank near the village of Husan, on June 23, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The residents said they had reported the problem after seeing soldiers nearly hit “in the light of day. At night, the situation is so much worse.”

“It would be nice if proper information was gathered before stating that something like this was a terrorist attack, when in fact, it was not,” the statement said.

On Saturday night, the IDF said soldiers on foot patrol in the West Bank were lightly injured when a car attempted to run them over in a suspected car-ramming attack.

The incident occurred outside Husan, at the Al Khader Junction near the West Bank settlement of Beitar Illit in the Etzion bloc. The injured soldiers received initial medical attention at the scene and were transferred to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem for further treatment, the military said.

View of the West Bank village of Husan, November 25, 2013. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Earlier this month, Israeli troops thwarted an attempted car-ramming attack in the southern West Bank city of Hebron. The driver of the vehicle tried to run over soldiers stationed on a road leading to the Tomb of the Patriarchs but was shot dead by troops, according to the IDF. The army said the Palestinian assailant first attempted to run over an officer and another soldier with a small tractor.

Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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