JERUSALEM: A Palestinian driver was killed by Israeli troops in the occupied West Bank on Saturday after what the army called an “attempted ramming attack” but Palestinians said was a traffic accident.

The army said soldiers and police opened fire on a vehicle after the driver “attempted to run them over” during a patrol outside Nablus, in the northern West Bank.

It said Israeli forces “neutralised” the attacker.

The Palestinian foreign ministry identified the driver as Muhammad Ali Hussein Awad, 36, from the West Bank town of Beit Ijza, near Jerusalem.

“The Israeli police deliberately shot Awad, with the aim of killing him, after his vehicle collided with a police vehicle in a traffic accident,” the ministry said.

It accused Israeli forces of killing a “defenceless Palestinian” who was not “posing any danger”.

Israel has occupied the West Bank since the Six Day War of 1967. There have been persistent car-rammings and other attacks by Palestinians on Israeli military vehicles and checkpoints in the territory in recent years.

Israeli forces have faced criticism over their frequent use of lethal force in response to perceived threats.

Israel is on high alert ahead of the Jewish high holiday season which begins on Sunday evening with Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year.

The northern West Bank, notably Jenin and Nablus, has seen near daily unrest since March.

Israel has launched hundreds of raids in the area in pursuit of individuals it accuses of involvement in deadly attacks targeting Israelis.

The raids have sparked clashes that have killed dozens of Palestinians, including fighters.

Published in Dawn, September 25th, 2022

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