A police officer was killed in the early hours of Sunday when he was rammed at a checkpoint in central Israel by a stolen vehicle allegedly driven by a Palestinian teenager, police said.
The deceased officer was later named as 29-year-old Barak Meshulam from the central city of Kfar Saba.
Meshulam was married and had two children.
Prime Minister Yair Lapid opened the weekly cabinet meeting by sending his condolences “to Ariella [Meshulam’s] wife, to three-and-a-half-year-old Alma and to one-year-old Leo; we share in their grief.”
After the incident, the second such deadly ramming in a number of weeks, Israel Police chief Kobi Shabtai clarified that officers are permitted to open fire on “anyone who endangers the lives of officers while attempting to break through a checkpoint.”
Shabtai eulogized Meshulam as “an outstanding police officer who did exactly what he was required to do as a police officer and as a defender of the public and the state.”
Police said the 17-year-old suspected of driving the vehicle was arrested on suspicion of murder.
The teenager from the West Bank city of Ramallah was allegedly driving a car he had stolen in the Tel Aviv area and was being pursued by police when he ran over Meshulam at a checkpoint on Route 4, near the city of Ra’anana.
The road was subsequently closed in both directions as large forces made their way to the scene.
The police officer was found lying dead on the road, according to the Magen David Adom ambulance service.
The suspect was said to have then exited the vehicle, attempting to flee on foot. A police helicopter then helped cops locate and arrest him shortly afterwards.
Police have launched an investigation into the circumstances of the incident and were interrogating the suspect.
Earlier, an unnamed officer at the Kfar Saba station — to which the slain cop belonged — was quoted by the Ynet news site as saying: “Until we get permission to shoot in such instances, police officers will continue to be hit and murdered.”
Last month, volunteer police officer Amichai Carmely was killed when he was mowed down by a vehicle at a checkpoint set up to check for drunk drivers in the central city of Rishon Lezion.
Earlier this month the alleged driver was charged with a number of offenses, including murder with depraved indifference.