June 23, 2020 / 4:47 PM / 17 days ago

Palestinian driver shot dead after alleged car-ramming on Israeli police

A man prays as vehicles are seen at an Israeli military checkpoint after a Palestinian ramming attack, near the town of Abu Dis in the Israeli-occupied West Bank June 23, 2020. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli police on Tuesday shot dead a Palestinian man who they said had tried to ram his car into an officer at a military checkpoint in the occupied West Bank.

Palestinian officials questioned the police’s account of Ahmad Erekat’s death. They said he was rushing to nearby Bethlehem to pick up family members from a hair salon on his sister’s wedding day.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the 27-year-old Erekat lightly injured an officer when he drove his vehicle into a barrier at a checkpoint near the town of Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem.

“(He) got out of the car and approached officers who responded by shooting” him and “he died at the scene”, Rosenfeld added.

Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said the man killed was his relative, and that his wedding was set for next week.

“This young man was killed in cold blood. What the occupation army (Israeli military) claims, that he was trying to run someone over, is a lie,” he said.

Video showed Israeli troops placing a plastic sheet over the man, who lay shirtless on the ground next to his vehicle.

Tensions have risen in recent weeks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet due on July 1 to begin discussing annexation of the West Bank, territory Israel captured in a 1967 war and that Palestinians seek for a state.

Palestinians vehemently oppose the annexation plan, as do most world powers.

Reporting by Rami Ayyub in Jerusalem and Ali Sawafta in Ramallah; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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