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Palestinian bus driver arrested over fatal hit-and-run near Bethlehem

Police suspect man does not have bus license, was paid by company’s driver to fill in; 2 pedestrians killed in Wednesday’s crash

The scene of a suspected hit-and-run by a bus near Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem, December 2, 2020. (Magen David Adom)
The scene of a suspected hit-and-run by a bus near Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem, December 2, 2020. (Magen David Adom)

A Palestinian man was arrested on Thursday over his alleged involvement in a fatal hit-and-run near Bethlehem, while driving a bus he was not licensed to operate, according to the Israel Police.

The West Bank resident, who was not identified, is suspected of mowing down a group of seven Palestinian pedestrians on Wednesday, killing two of them. He fled the scene of the accident, near Rachel’s Tomb, and was arrested Thursday.

Police suspect he received payment from the Palestinian company’s bus driver to operate the vehicle, though he was not in possession of an Israeli bus license. The bus was empty of passengers during the crash.

The man was remanded in custody until Friday.

One of the victims died at the scene of the crash. Magen David Adom paramedics said the 27-year-old man had been trapped beneath the bus and was found without vital signs. Another man was wounded and later died of his injuries at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

Five other people were injured and taken to Jerusalem and West Bank hospitals for treatment.

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