Military Police Probe Killing of Israeli Arab at Gas Station

Soldiers said Rabia Tawil broke through checkpoint after refusing to wait for his documents to be checked.

The Military Police are investigating the death of Rabia Tawil, 23, of East Jerusalem, who was shot dead by Israel Defense Forces soldiers early Tuesday morning south of Jerusalem.

According to reserve soldiers serving near the settlement of Mevo Beitar, Tawil broke through a checkpoint after refusing to wait for his documents to be inspected. The soldiers gave chase in a military vehicle and caught up with him at a nearby gas station. Tawil then tried to run over one of the soldiers, who was slightly wounded, the soldiers said. Other soldiers who were present said they went through the arrest procedure before opening fire and killing Tawil.

Military Police collected film from security cameras at the gas station. One eyewitness said the soldiers fired more than 20 bullets into Tawil's car, and it remains unclear why massive firepower was used to arrest the man.

"He had been driving Palestinians without legal [entry] permits into Israel and was trying to avoid arrest," one soldier told Haaretz. "He nearly ran over a soldier, which is why he got shot." But workers at the gas station told Haaretz Tawil was a regular customer and had no reason to attack the soldiers.