Eight-year-old Boy Killed in Northern Israel Hit-and-run 'Attack'

Police arrested the driver, believe the incident was deliberate and caused by a dispute over next year’s election in the Galilee community

FILE PHOTO: Bedouin schoolchildren in 2016
Gallery / Bloomberg

An 8-year-old boy was run over and killed in a Bedouin village in northern Israel on Saturday. The driver of the vehicle was arrested, with the police suspecting the incident was not an accident but the result of a dispute between local families.

The police believe the man drove his car at speed at a group of residents in Zarzir, Lower Galilee, killing Ahmad Musa Grifat.

The suspect is set to have his detention extended by a judge in Nazareth Magistrate’s Court on Sunday.

Local residents told Haaretz that the cause of the dispute was the local elections being held next year. The night before the incident, the car of one of the candidates was torched. When this was discovered on Saturday morning, a scuffle started that ultimately led to Grifat’s death. He was the youngest of five siblings.

Residents claimed that the suspect drove his jeep wildly and sped toward a group of people. A few of them managed to jump out of the way, while others were slightly injured. “The boy was with a group of adults and he fell victim,” one of the residents said.

Salah Grifat, who is a relative of the boy and whose car was set on fire, said a scuffle had preceded the car incident. “I saw a black jeep hit the group of people at high speed. Everyone saw the [driver]. He got in his jeep, ran over [the boy] and fled,” said Salah Grifat.

The Magen David Adom rescue service said it received a report of a child being injured by a car in Zarzir at about 11 A.M. Medics treated Grifat at the scene and then evacuated him in critical condition to Haemek Hospital, Afula, where doctors pronounced him dead.

A similar incident occurred about a week ago in the Arab town of Sha’ab, near Carmiel in the Galilee. A fight broke out between family members and six people were lightly to moderately injured. Police suspect a few of them were intentionally run over, and the two brothers driving the vehicles were arrested.

During the brawl, one of the brothers allegedly drove at the people fighting at high speed and a short time later his brother did likewise.

An indictment was also recently filed against Mufid al-Krishat, from the Bedouin town of Kuseife. He faces three murder charges, along with 10 counts of attempted murder, for allegedly driving into a group of people.

A fight had broken out among members of the al-Amor family who live in the town and a group of youths who drove through the town recklessly. The next day, Krishat returned and, after firing in the air, allegedly ran over a number of people.