Police shoot, injure Palestinian they say tried to ram into them
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Police shoot, injure Palestinian they say tried to ram into them

Cops say they fired at wheels of stolen vehicle after alleged car thief didn’t slow down at roadblock in the West Bank

Jacob Magid is the settlements correspondent for The Times of Israel.

Illustrative: IDF soldiers carry spike strips as they block a road at a southern entrance of Hebron on July 2, 2016, after Israeli troops locked down the West Bank city following a spate of deadly Palestinian terror attacks. (AFP/Hazem Bader/File)
Illustrative: IDF soldiers carry spike strips as they block a road at a southern entrance of Hebron on July 2, 2016, after Israeli troops locked down the West Bank city following a spate of deadly Palestinian terror attacks. (AFP/Hazem Bader/File)

Israeli police shot a Palestinian who they said was trying to ram into officers after stealing a car in the West Bank on Wednesday.

After receiving reports of cops in hot pursuit of a stolen vehicle making its way north up Route 90 from the Dead Sea, police officers set up a roadblock near the Vered Yericho settlement.

According to the police statement, the driver did not slow down upon reaching the barricade and attempted to run over the cops.

Police said that officers then shot at the wheels of the vehicle, causing the driver to lose control and crash the car. The man, however, sustained a bullet wound to the chest.

The suspect was taken to the Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center, where a spokeswoman for the hospital said he was in moderate condition and would soon be undergoing surgery.

The statement from Israel Police’s Judea and Samaria District said officers spotted two vehicles stolen by Palestinians in the same area. They managed to pull over one of the drivers, arresting him at the scene.

A third Palestinian driving a stolen vehicle managed to flee, police said.

A similar incident unfolded just a day earlier, though it ended in the death of a Palestinian driver. Then, IDF soldiers shot dead an Arab Israeli man after he crashed a stolen car into a barrier surrounding a bus stop near the northern West Bank settlement of Ariel.

The suspect, later identified as Iyad Zabarja, 28 of Qalansawe, was driving on Route 5, near the Gitai Junction, in a stolen vehicle, and was pursued by law enforcement.

“During [the chase], the driver crashed head on into the bus stop, got out of the car and started to flee,” the army said. Soldiers at the scene, apparently believing they had witnessed an attempted car-ramming terror attack, opened fire at the suspect, critically wounding him, the army said. The bus stop was empty at the time of the crash, and there were no other injuries reported.

The driver received medical treatment at the scene, but died of his wounds a short while later. The army said it was launching an investigation into the shooting. A relative of Zabarja accused the army of murdering him “in cold blood.”

He told Walla news “They shouldn’t have shot him. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances were. They could have shot him in the legs and not shot him dead. They simply murdered him in cold blood, without him posing any danger.”

On Monday, security guards shot an unarmed Palestinian man who ran at a checkpoint near the Palestinian city of Tulkarem in the northern West Bank.

Guards at the Te’enim checkpoint called on the man to stop, and shot him in the lower body when he did not respond, the ministry said in a statement. He was seriously injured, and medical personnel evacuated him to a hospital.

The Defense Ministry statement did not say the man was armed and when asked for clarification on the matter, a spokeswoman declined to comment.

On Wednesday, police announced that they had opened an investigation into the incident at Te’enim. While they refused to elaborate, a spokeswoman admitted that the shooting was “in a grey area.”

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