Israeli forces kill Palestinian at occupied West Bank checkpoint

Israeli forces have shot and killed a Palestinian man at a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank.

Israeli border police said on Tuesday they shot and killed a suspect who they say attempted to run over a female officer at a checkpoint in the Palestinian village of Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem. Police said the officer was slightly wounded in the incident.

Palestinian officials rejected the police’s account of the man’s death. They identified him as 27-year-old Ahmad Erekat.

“This young man was killed in cold blood. Tonight was his sister’s wedding,” said Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Saeb said the man killed was his relative and that his wedding was set for next week.

“What the occupation army claims, that he was trying to run someone over, is a lie,” he said.

Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said the man “drove his vehicle quickly towards the direction of a female border police officer who was injured lightly”.

The officer was evacuated to a hospital.

Police did not immediately release a video of the incident, and there was no way to independently verify the account. But police released a photo that appeared to show the vehicle after it had collided into the checkpoint.

Scene of a Palestinian ramming attack at an Israeli military checkpoint near the town of Abu Dis
Traffic backs up near the scene of the incident at a checkpoint near the town of Abu Dis in the West Bank [Ammar Awad/Reuters]

Palestinians and human rights groups have also accused Israeli security forces of using excessive force, or in some cases opening fire at cars that merely lost control.

The director of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in Bethlehem confirmed that a soldier prevented Palestinian medical personnel from approaching the man and was left to bleed, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

The incident comes nearly a month after a Palestinian man was killed in similar circumstances near Ramallah in the West Bank.

He was shot dead on May 29 after trying to ram a car into Israeli soldiers, none of whom were injured, police said at the time.

Tuesday’s incident comes ahead of plans by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to annex parts of the West Bank.

Netanyahu said the government would take steps towards annexing Israeli settlements, illegal under international law, and the Jordan Valley from July 1, as part of a broader US plan. The Palestinians have rejected the plan and want the West Bank to form part of a future Palestinian state.

The proposals have sparked widespread international criticism and warnings that such a move would lead to violence.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

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