Palestinian to be charged with terror over Tel Aviv ramming of motorcyclist

Police, Shin Bet say Ali Hamad confessed to December 8 attack, in which he moderately wounded an Israeli man; said he was avenging cousin’s death

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

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

Police prosecutors on Monday said they plan to file terror charges against a Palestinian man who rammed a vehicle into a motorcyclist in Tel Aviv earlier this month, after an investigation found the motive for the incident was nationalistic.

Police and the Shin Bet security agency said in a joint statement that Ali Hamad, 31, who had entered Israel illegally, confessed to the attack on December 8, saying he had committed it as revenge after his cousin was killed in an exchange of fire with Israeli troops in the West Bank a day before the attack.

Hamad’s cousin, Mojahed al-Najjar, opened fire at an Israeli military post near the settlement of Ofra before being chased and shot dead by troops.

Hamad committed the attack with a car that had been taken off the road by police order due to damage from a crash, and was then illegally put back in use. According to the Kan public broadcaster, he managed to drive into Israel from the West Bank with the unauthorized car, which had Israeli license plates.

Police said prosecutors would file an indictment against Hamad in the next few days.

Hamad was arrested shortly after the incident, and police initially described it as a traffic accident. But several days later, the Shin Bet said it suspected the ramming was intentional.

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

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

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

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)

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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