Israeli soldiers have shot dead a Palestinian motorist who they said tried to ram them at a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank – an account disputed by his wife who was with him in the car.
The Palestinian health ministry said the man, identified as 42-year-old Osama Mansour, was killed on Tuesday and his wife sustained bullet fragment wounds. The military statement said no troops were hurt in the early morning incident.
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“They told us to stop the car and we stopped and turned it off,” the man’s wife, Sumaya Mansour, 35, told Palestine TV.
“Then they looked at us and told us to go, we turned the car on and moved and all of them started shooting at us.”
Salem Eid, the mayor of Biddu village where the man lived, said the Palestinians may raise the incident at the International Criminal Court, whose prosecutor announced last month it would formally investigate alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories.
In a statement, the Israeli military said the vehicle accelerated towards a group of soldiers “in a way that endangered their lives”, and they responded with gunfire “to thwart the threat”.
Asked about the woman’s account, an Israeli military spokesman said: “The attempted car-ramming attack carried out earlier this morning is being investigated by the commander of the Binyamin Regional Brigade.”
Eid challenged the military’s accusation that the driver was trying to carry out an attack, noting he was a father of five and had his wife with him in the vehicle.
Rights groups have documented incidents in which they said Israeli troops were unjustified in opening fire at Palestinians they perceived as posing a threat at checkpoints.
The occupied West Bank, taken by Israel in the 1967 war, makes up the bulk of the future state the Palestinians are hoping to form.
Nearly 500,000 Israeli settlers live in around more than 200 settlements and dozens of unauthorised outposts scattered across the Palestinian territories.
Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, all captured by Israel in 1967.
The Palestinians, who have limited self-rule in the West Bank, say Israel’s settlements deny them a viable state. The settlements are illegal under international law.