West Bank Car Chase: Israeli Police Fire at Stolen Vehicle; Palestinian Driver Seriously Injured

The police say they blocked the road but the driver tried to run them over

Yotam Berger
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The settlement of Vered Yeriho in the West Bank, 2015.
The settlement of Vered Yeriho in the West Bank, 2015.Credit: AFP
Yotam Berger

A Palestinian driver was seriously injured near Jericho in the West Bank after police officers chasing him shot at his wheels, causing him to lose control of the vehicle.

The police gave chase to the Palestinian as he was driving from the Dead Sea area north on Route 90 on Tuesday, suspecting the car was stolen. The police said they blocked the road near the Vered Yeriho settlement, but the driver tried to run them over. They fired at the wheels of his car, the driver lost control of the vehicle and was injured. He was taken to Hadassah University Hospital in Ein Kerem, Jerusalem, where he was reported to be in serious condition.

The police also chased after two other suspected car thieves on Wednesday in the same area. They arrested one of the drivers while the other fled and has not yet been found.

The incident comes a day after Israeli soldiers shot dead an Israeli Arab on Tuesday after he crashed into an empty bus stop in the West Bank and left his car in an attempt to get away from the scene.

Iyad Azbarka of Kalansua, in central Israel, was allegedly driving a stolen car in the West Bank. After the police pursued him, he reportedly lost control of the car and crashed into an empty bus stop near the settlement of Ariel.

Although Azbarka did not pose a threat, soldiers standing nearby fired at him as he tried to flee the site of the crash on foot, killing him. A military source said the soldiers thought Azbarka had tried to carry out a car-ramming attack because he was speeding and crashed near a hitchhiking stop which was close to the site of several previous ramming attacks. The Israel Defense Forces said it will investigate the matter.