A video released on Wednesday may shed new light on the events that ended in the death of an Israeli police officer and an Israeli Bedouin who police claim ran over the officer during clashes in the southern Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran.
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The clashes erupted after police officers arrived to demolish illegally built structures in the Bedouin village early Wednesday morning, to make way for a Jewish town slated to be built nearby. Police said that the officer, Sgt. Maj. Erez Levi, 34, was killed when the Bedouin, Yakub Abu al-Kiyan, deliberately ran him over with his car. Locals contested the account, saying al-Kiyan lost control of his car after he was first shot by police. Another police officer was wounded in the incident.
The video, shot from a police helicopter hovering above the scene, appears to show police officers walking toward al-Kian's vehicle and shooting at him as he was driving at a slow pace. Only several seconds after the gunfire his car appears to speed up and then plows through police officers. It is unclear if the driver sped up intentionally.
Following the release of the video, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan tweeted that the police gunfire that can be seen at the beginning of the video were warning shots which were not directed at the driver. Erdan said the warning shots were fired after al-Kiyan refused to heed calls to halt, and instead he attempted to run over the police force.
A short while after the video was leaked to the media, the police released an edited version with captions explaining how the incident unfolded. The captions did not mention the gunfire and the beginning of the incident is seen as the moment the car started accelerating.
A statement by the police accompanying the video, referred to al-Kiyan as a "terrorist" and said that the video showed his car on the side of the road and only after he noticed the police officers it accelerated and hit them.