Israel's Shin Bet Says Palestinian Who Ran Over Three Soldiers Did So by Accident

An investigation conducted by police and intelligence forces determined that the suspected car-ramming attack that took place at the end of June was actually not politically motivated

The driver Muhammad Shehada after his arrest, June 2018
IDF Spokesperson Unit

The Palestinian who ran over three soldiers in Husan last June did so by accident, a Shin Bet and police investigation has determined. This was despite the army's declaration, hours after the incident, that it was a terrorist attack, calling the detainee a "terrorist."

In fact, according to two sources familiar with the details who confirmed the story to Haaretz, in an investigation conducted by the General Security Service and the Judea and Samaria District Police it was determined, among other things, that the attack was not suspected to have had a nationalist motive. 

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The suspected car-ramming took place at the end of June. Three soldiers were lightly injured by a passing vehicle during a patrol of the village, near Bethlehem in the Gush Etzion area. They sustained injuries to their limbs, were treated by military medical forces, and later taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

Emergency medical teams at the scene of a suspected car-ramming attack in the Palestinian village of Husan, June 23, 2018.
United Hatzalah

The Israeli army’s spokesperson unit issued the following statement: “The Palestinian suspect turned himself in at the end of June 2018 and has since been under arrest. He was interrogated by security forces and the Israel Police, and the findings of his interrogation were transferred to the Military Advocate General's Office. An indictment has not yet been filed, and, as such, we cannot communicate at this stage evidence gathered in the investigation.”

After the incident, the driver, Muhammad Shehada of the Deheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem, fled and later surrendered himself to the army, who had been searching the area for him. Shehada said it was an accident and that he had fled because he was afraid he would be shot.

A Palestinian source told Haaretz, shortly after the accident, that the suspect's brother had been arrested by the IDF two days before the accident, raising suspicions that the incident was a retaliation attempt.

Although the driver claimed that the incident was an accident, the IDF Spokesperson's Office issued a statement to the press that the attack was a terrorist attack. In the statement issued a day after the incident, the IDF Spokesperson said that "during the night the suspect turned himself in to an IDF force. The terrorist was taken for interrogation by security services."

Last week, a police investigation concluded that another incident that occurred in August near Havat Gilad was an accident and not a terror attack. At the event, in which Hava Chaya Roizen was killed, a Palestinian minibus hit a car near Havat Gilad and fled. The driver turned himself in shortly afterwards. The IDF and police determined that the hit-and-run was an accident rather than a ramming attack.