An Israeli woman killed by a Palestinian driver in the northern West Bank Thursday night was named on Friday as 42-year-old Hava Roizen.
Following a preliminary investigation, the army said it was “highly likely” that the fatal crash was a hit-and-run incident rather than a terror attack.
Roizen was struck by the vehicle on Route 60, near the Havat Gilad outpost. She was declared dead by the Magen David Adom ambulance service after paramedics were unable to resuscitate her.
The driver fled the scene and was later spotted near the Palestinian village of Jit where he turned himself in to Palestinian Authority police.
A senior PA official told the Times of Israel the driver was a 63-year-old male who insisted what happened had been an accident and not an attack. The official added that the man would remain in the custody of the PA police and would be dealt with by the PA judicial system.
“I was afraid that if I stopped they would kill me, so I fled,” the driver told Palestinian police, according to Hebrew media reports.
Roizen was a resident of the small ultra-Orthodox settlement of Emmanuel, which put out a statement late Thursday saying the local council “mourns her premature death,” and said it will offer support to the husband and family.
The family has yet to announce when she will be buried.
An immigrant from the former Soviet Union, Roizen worked as a photographer, frequently hitchhiking around the country to events, an Emmanuel resident told The Times of Israel.
“She was incredibly dedicated to her job. She’d travel wherever it was necessary, and I’d often see her returning to Emmanuel at very late hours,” he said, referring to Roizen and her husband as humble people.
While military sources said the preliminary investigation found that the incident was a hit-and-run, they had not definitely ruled out the possibility that it was a terror attack.
On Thursday night Samaria Regional Council chairman Yossi Dagan insisted the case had all the hallmarks of a terror attack.
“From the point of view of the military commanders in the field, and from our point of view as well, this is a terror attack for all intents and purposes,” he claimed.
The settler leader pointed out that the junction is well lit and that there were no skid marks or other signs that the driver had tried to come to a sudden halt. “This is another terror attack, a cold-blooded murder of a Samaria resident on a central road in the State of Israel.”
After the incident, some 30 Israeli residents of nearby settlements protested near the site of the attack. Some Hebrew media reports said some of the protesters threw stones at Palestinians passing nearby.
A spokesperson for the Samaria Regional Council said the incident occurred near the site of an attack in January, when Rabbi Raziel Shevach was shot dead by a Hamas terrorist.
“This is a very grave incident,” Dagan said. “But we, the residents of Samaria, will continue to be strong and sanctify life.”
Jacob Magid and Adam Ragson contributed to this report.