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Shin Bet officer mistakenly opens fire on Israeli vehicle in West Bank

Officers apparently believed driver was trying to carry out ramming attack when car accelerated after a crash with a Palestinian vehicle

An Israeli soldier stands guard at a checkpoint near the Beit El settlement on the outskirts of West Bank city of Ramallah, on a road linking Ramallah and Jerusalem on February 1, 2016. (AFP/Thomas Coex)
Illustrative: An Israeli soldier stands guard at a checkpoint near the Beit El settlement on the outskirts of West Bank city of Ramallah, on a road linking Ramallah and Jerusalem on February 1, 2016. (AFP/Thomas Coex)

An officer in Israel’s Shin Bet security agency mistakenly opened fire toward an Israeli vehicle near the West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday morning.

A preliminary investigation found that the vehicle with an Israeli driver was involved in a car accident with a Palestinian vehicle close to an Israeli checkpoint, the Ynet news site reported.

The Israeli driver reportedly started to accelerate to get away from the crash, at which point the Shin Bet officer opened fire, apparently believing the driver was trying to carry out a ramming attack.

There were no injuries in the shooting but the Israeli driver was lightly injured in the initial car crash.

The Shin Bet said in a statement that it was investigating the incident, which came amid heightened tensions in the West Bank a day after an Israeli woman was found dead in an apparent terror attack and a teen was killed during a police chase after allegedly throwing rocks at Palestinians.

On Monday morning, Esther Horgen was found dead in a northern West Bank forest where she had gone for a run the previous day. Authorities are investigating her death as a suspected terror attack.

Hours later, Ahuvia Sandak was killed in a car crash when he and others tried to flee police after allegedly throwing rocks at Palestinians in the central West Bank.

Military sources told the Walla news site that they feared Horgen’s death could spark a series of revenge attacks by the settler youth on Palestinians and inflame an already tense situation in the West Bank.

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