Palestinian in West Bank rams into cop car in alleged attack, is shot dead

Military says soldier fired at driver who plowed into police vehicle; Palestinians assert the man had lost control of his vehicle, was not an assailant

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Damaged vehicles are seen at the scene of a suspected car-ramming attack near the West Bank outpost of Havat Gilad, September 24, 2022. (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)
Damaged vehicles are seen at the scene of a suspected car-ramming attack near the West Bank outpost of Havat Gilad, September 24, 2022. (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)

Israeli security forces shot a Palestinian driver dead on Saturday after his car rammed into a police vehicle in the northern West Bank, the military said.

IDF troops and police officers were conducting joint “routine activity” in the area, according to the military.

The army said the driver, later identified as Mohammad Ali Abu Kafia, had tried to run over the soldiers, and characterized the incident as an attack. Meanwhile, the official Palestinian Wafa news agency, citing the man’s cousin, asserted that he had lost control of his vehicle and was not trying to ram the soldiers. It said he was a teacher and a father of three.

“Instead of trying to help the man, [the soldiers] opened gunfire at him killing him right away,” Wafa said.

Images from the scene near the illegal outpost of Havat Gilad showed a damaged police vehicle next to the Palestinian car that crashed into it, after crossing from the opposite lane into the road’s shoulder.

The Israel Defense Forces said troops and police officers “identified a suspicious vehicle that accelerated toward them and tried to run them over.”

“An IDF soldier opened fire at the vehicle,” it said, and the shooter “was neutralized.”

No soldiers were injured. Media reports indicated a policeman who was in the car that was hit was lightly hurt from the airbag’s inflation.

The IDF described the incident as an “attempted ramming attack.”

The suspected attack came at a time of rising violence in the West Bank, particularly in the northern area.

On Thursday, a Palestinian man hit a soldier stationed near Huwara with his car, lightly injuring him, the IDF said.

The military initially believed that incident was an accident, but later said it was still probing the matter.

The IDF is on high alert across the West Bank amid an uptick in attacks, and ahead of the upcoming Jewish holidays.

During Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and the first and last days of Sukkot, Israel will close crossings to the West Bank and Gaza Strip for Palestinians.

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