Israel heavily deploys troops and seals off villages following alleged car ramming attack

Published June 12th, 2016 - 08:01 GMT
Israeli security forces gather at the scene where a Palestinian man was shot dead by Israeli security forces after ramming his car into a group of Israelis at Tapuah junction, south of Nablus in the West Bank, on November 8, 2015. (AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)
Israeli security forces gather at the scene where a Palestinian man was shot dead by Israeli security forces after ramming his car into a group of Israelis at Tapuah junction, south of Nablus in the West Bank, on November 8, 2015. (AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)

A Palestinian allegedly attempted to carry out a car ramming attack Saturday evening outside of the village of Deir Abu Mashal northwest of Ramallah and fled the scene, locals and Israeli security sources said.

Israeli forces have responded by sealing the entrances to villages in the Ramallah area in the central occupied West Bank in search of the suspect.

Locals told Ma'an that a Palestinian-plated car attempted to run over Israeli soldiers on a main road north of Ramallah on Saturday evening, but did not succeed.

Israeli soldiers opened fire on the vehicle, and the driver fled the scene.

An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the incident, adding that no Israelis were injured. She could not confirm any further information regarding the alleged attacker or attackers, or if they were injured in the incident.

Israeli forces deployed heavily in the area in the predawn hours Monday in search of the vehicle, sealing villages north and northwest of Ramallah.

According to locals, Israeli forces erected checkpoints at the entrances to the Ramallah-area villages of Deir Abu Mashal, Abud, Nabi Salih, Umm Safa, Deir Nidham, Atara, Ein Siniya, and al-Jalazun refugee camp.

Israeli forces were stopping vehicles, searching them thoroughly and inspecting the IDs of all passengers, locals added.

Last month, Israeli forces shot and killed Ahmed Riyad Abd al-Aziz Shehada, 36, from the Qalandiya refugee camp after he allegedly carried out a car ramming attack at a junction near the illegal Israeli settlement of Dolev northwest of Ramallah.

Three Israeli soldiers were injured in the incident.

Witnesses told Ma'an it appeared Shedada hit the soldiers by accident, and he fled the scene "fearing for his life." Israeli forces ambushed the vehicle, and shot him dead.

More than 200 Palestinians and some 30 Israelis have been killed since the beginning of a wave of violence in October, characterized by a number of small-scale Palestinian attacks and alleged attacks against mainly Israeli military targets.

Israeli authorities meanwhile have launched a crackdown in response to the escalation, promoting a "shoot-to-kill" policy against Palestinians, which has been accused by rights groups, international leaders, and Palestinian officials of enacting a policy of "extrajudicial executions."

The Israeli authorities have also enacted a series of harsh measures throughout the occupied territory in response to the violence, which rights groups have termed collective punishment.

Following a deadly shooting attack in Tel Aviv last week, Israeli authorities have revoked travel permits for 83,000 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, and imposed an indefinite blockade on the village where the gunmen were said to be from.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said Friday in the wake of the Tel Aviv attack that while "Israel has a human rights obligation to bring those responsible to account for their crimes, the measures taken against the broader population punish not the perpetrators of the crime, but tens -- maybe hundreds -- of thousands of innocent Palestinians."


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