Suspected Israeli Arab Car Thief Shot Dead After Crashing Into Empty West Bank Bus Stop

The driver, 30, was shot when he tried to escape the stolen vehicle on foot near the settlement of Ariel

An Israeli solider waiting at a bus stop in Ariel, 2016.
גיל כהן מגן

An Israeli Arab man suspected of stealing a car was shot dead by a soldier on Tuesday morning after he crashed into a bus stop near the West Bank settlement of Ariel.

A soldier stationed near the bus stop fired at the Israeli-Arab driver when he tried to flee the scene on foot after the crash. According to the IDF, the soldier thought the crash was an attempted terrorist attack. The man was evacuated to receive medical attention but soon succumbed to his wounds and pronounced dead.

The man killed was identified as Iyad Azbarka, 30, from Qalansawe in central Israel. 

Two sources told Haaretz that the suspect was driving a stolen car, which was pursued by a private security company, and that police were not involved. It was unclear whether the soldier was aware of the car chase.

No other injuries were reported, and no one was waiting at the bus stop. The IDF is investigating the incident.

The vehicle was stolen from Hadera in the middle of the night. Its location was tracked using an internal location chip and found by the security company Ituran. Ituran tracked the vehicle down inside Israel, on Highway 5, and followed the driver into the West Bank. There, the driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed into the bus stop, where he was shot and killed.

On Monday, a 55-year-old Palestinian man was moderately-to-seriously wounded after he was shot by an Israeli security guard at a checkpoint near the West Bank city of Tul Karem. The man was evacuated to a hospital in Israel.