Palestinian man suspected of terror ramming of motorcyclist in Tel Aviv last week

Shin Bet believes Thursday’s incident, initially described as a traffic accident, was an intentional attack; driver, 31, entered illegally from West Bank; victim moderately hurt

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

Police and medics at the scene of a suspected car-ramming attack in Tel Aviv, December 8, 2022 (Magen David Adom)
Police and medics at the scene of a suspected car-ramming attack in Tel Aviv, December 8, 2022 (Magen David Adom)

The Shin Bet security agency is investigating a car crash in Tel Aviv last week as a suspected terror attack, law enforcement officials said Sunday.

According to police, a Palestinian man, 31, illegally staying in Israel crashed a car he was driving into a motorcyclist in the central city.

The Israeli man on the motorcycle, Gilad Tanami, was moderately hurt, according to medical officials.

The Palestinian driver was arrested shortly after the incident, and police initially described it as a traffic accident.

Police did not say if the car he was driving was stolen, but it came following a string of incidents where Palestinians driving stolen cars in Israel crashed into checkpoints in central Israel, including one fatal incident.

“After an initial investigation… the Shin Bet suspects that the motive for the accident is nationalistic,” police said Sunday.

The suspect was handed over to the Shin Bet for further questioning.

According to the Magen David Adom ambulance service, Tanami, in his 30s, was taken to Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv.

On Sunday, from his hospital bed, Tanami told the Kan public broadcaster he “knew it was a terror attack.”

Gilad Tanami, wounded in a suspected ramming attack in Tel Aviv. speaks to the Kan public broadcaster from the Ichilov hospital, December 11, 2022. (Screenshot: Kan)

“I looked up and saw a car accelerating in my direction,” he told the network, describing how he was then thrown up into the air.

“He continued driving with my motorcycle under the vehicle for about 40 meters and then got stuck on a pole,” he added.

Police at the scene of a suspected car-ramming attack in Tel Aviv, December 8, 2022 (Courtesy)

The incident came amid heightened tensions in the region, with the Israeli military conducting an ongoing major anti-terror offensive in the West Bank to deal with a series of Palestinian attacks that have left 31 people dead since the start of the year.

Last month, a Bedouin man from the southern city of Rahat intentionally rammed his car into a student in Beersheba, moderately wounding him, according to police. He is expected to face terror charges.

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