Israeli Army: Palestinian Shot Dead After Attempting to Run Over Soldiers in West Bank

According to the IDF, the man tried to run over soldiers and civilians with a tractor. An attempt to sneak into Israel from Gaza was thwarted earlier, military says

Israel flags are seen on a house after they were hung by Israeli settlers in Hebron, in the West Bank March 27, 2018
\ MUSSA ISSA QAWASMA/ REUTERS

A Palestinian was shot dead Saturday after attempting to run over Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city of Hebron, the Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson's Unit said. The military also said that earlier in the day, it thwarted an attempt by a terorrist cell attempting to cross the Gaza border fence. 

According to the statemen about the incident in Hebron, the soldiers opened fire on the man after he tried to ram them with his vehicle. The IDF reported no casualties. 

An initial investigation by the IDF revealed the man to be a 35-year-old resident of Beit Ummar, a town northwest of Hebron. The Palestinian media reported the driver was 37-year-old Rami Sbarana.

According to the IDF, Sbarana attempted to ram an officer and a soldier with a small "Bobcat" tractor. They initiated arrest protocols, following which Sbarana turned the tractor around and allegedly tried to run over several civilians who were passing by. A soldier stationed on a nearby roof reportedly indentified the threat to the civilians' lives and opened fire on the tractor, killing the driver.

Sbarana's family said they do not believe the IDF's version of the incident.  "We do not believe he intended to perform a terrorist attack and we demand an independent inquiry committee be appointed to investigate the circumstances of the incident," the family said.

Shaher Abu Zina, the contractor which Sbarana worked for in the past 16 months said he was a very hard worker who showed no signs of intending to exact such an attack.

Earlier Saturday, the IDF said it identified several Palestinians in the southern Gaza Strip crossing the border fence into Israeli territory. Israeli soldiers opened fire, and the Palestinians fled back into the Strip, said the statement.

Last Tuesday, two Palestinians attempted to infiltrate the Har Bracha settlement near Nablus in the northern West Bank. They were spotted by the military and fired upon by the settlement's security coordinator. One was moderately wounded and arrested. The other man fled and was not found.

Earlier this month, An Israeli soldier was lightly wounded in a car-ramming attack near the Shavei Shomron settlement in the West Bank.