The Police Internal Investigations Department, a branch of the Justice Ministry, announced Thursday that it was opening a preliminary probe into the fatal incident in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran on Wednesday when a resident rammed his vehicle into a group of officers who were supervising court-ordered home demolitions in the village. A policeman was killed, as was the driver, who police have claimed has ties to the Islamic State terror group, and who was shot by police officers on the scene.
Relatives of the driver, Yaqoub Mousa Abu Al-Qia’an, 47 and a father of 12, insist he was not an assailant, and was not in control of the vehicle when it smashed into police lines because he had been fatally shot.
A police video appears to show officers firing on him before the vehicle accelerated into a group of police officers, killing 1st Sgt. Erez Levi, 34, and a father of two from Yavneh.
But Police, as well as Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, insist the incident was a terror attack. They have accused Abu Al-Qia’an of jihadist sympathies and called the attack “terrorism” and “murder.”
The Police Internal Investigations Department said the probe will look into why officers initially fired their weapons at the vehicle before it sped up.
A police officer who was at the scene, and who was wounded in the incident, said the cops fired at the vehicle’s wheels — and not in the air, as originally reported — after the driver refused to heed calls to stop.
According to Channel 2, a very preliminary probe has reportedly shown that the Al-Qia’an was not hit by the initial shots, sped up his vehicle and sharply swerved it to hit Levi.
The family of Abu Al-Qia’an had demanded earlier Thursday that the internal affairs department launch an investigation into the circumstances of his death.