Palestinian's Relatives Doubt He Was Trying to Attack Israelis When He Was Killed

Family of 60-year-old man said he suffered from hearing loss and likely could not hear the soldiers who the military said he tried to run over

An Israeli soldier stands next to the vehicle of a 60-year-old man, after he was shot dead by soldiers in what the army said was an attempted car ramming attack near Ramallah on December 13, 2018.
ABBAS MOMANI / AFP

Relatives of a Palestinian who was shot dead in the West Bank on Thursday have said they do not believe Israel's claim that he had been attempting to run over soldiers.

The dead man has been identified as 60-year-old Hamdan al-Arda, the owner of an aluminum factory in the Jenin area. Members of his family said he suffered from hearing loss that they thought he must have failed to hear soldiers' warnings. They added that he likely veered off course when he was surprised by the soldiers' presence. According to witness, troops fired dozens of bullets at al-Arda.

Hundreds of people participated in a Fatah-organized march on Thursday evening in Araba, the town where al-Arda lived, to protest the killing. Participants condemned Israel, accusing it of killing al-Arda for no reason.

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A military statement issued after the incident stated: "A terrorist attempted to use his car to run over IDF soldiers who were conducting operations. An IDF soldier was lightly wounded. Security forces at the scene responded with gunfire and neutralized the terrorist." Confrontations between Palestinians and security forces erupted in El Bireh, where the shooting occurred.

In a separate incident on Thursday evening, the military reported an attempted car-ramming attack in the West Bank and later reversed course, saying that the incident was a traffic accident.

Earlier Thursday, two Israeli soldiers were killed and another soldier and a civilian were seriously wounded Thursday in a shooting in the West Bank. The military has launched a wide-scale manhunt for the assailants, sealing off Ramallah and setting up roadblocks throughout the area.