NEGEV (Ma’an) — Two people were killed and several others were hospitalized Wednesday after a predawn demolition raid into the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev region erupted into clashes, as Israeli forces used rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas canisters, and stun grenades to violently suppress locals and supporters who had gathered to resist the demolitions.
A Palestinian citizen of Israel was shot dead by Israeli forces after he allegedly carried out a car ramming attack on Israeli officers, leaving several injured, according to Israeli police. However, a numerous eyewitness accounts said that the driver lost control of his vehicle after he was shot, causing him to crash into Israeli police, one of whom was killed.
Israeli Knesset member Taleb Abu Arar said that the police killed Abu Qian “in cold blood," Israeli news site Ynet quoted him as saying. “The police shot him for no reason. The claims that he tried to run over police are not true.”
Locals identified the slain Palestinian citizen of Israel as 47-year-old Yaqoub Moussa Abu al-Qian , a math teacher at al-Salam High School in the nearby town of Hura.
Israeli police later confirmed that a policeman succumbed to injuries he sustained by being hit by the car. The slain officer was identified as 34-year-old Erez Levi.
Knesset member Ayman Odeh and head of the Joint List, which represents parties led by Palestinian citizens of Israel, was injured in the head and back with rubber-coated steel bullets, locals said, and taken to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba.
Odeh wrote in a statement on his Facebook page saying that “a crime was committed in Umm al-Hiran as hundreds of police members violently raided the village firing tear-gas bombs, stun grenades, and rubber-coated steel bullets. Villagers, women, men, and children stood with their bare hands against the brutality and violence of the police.”
Hundreds of Israeli police arrived to Umm al-Hiran at around 5 a.m. to secure the area for Israeli authorities to carry out a demolition campaign in the village.
Israeli news blog 972 Magazine quoted witness and activist Kobi Snitz as saying that police began pulling drivers out of vehicles, and attacking and threatening others.
A short while later, Snitz said he heard gunfire and saw a white pickup truck about 30 meters from police, telling 972: “They started shooting at the car in bursts from all directions.”
According to the report, it was only after the driver appeared to have been wounded and lost control of his vehicle that it crashed into the police officers, contradiction Israeli police reports.