RAMALLAH: Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian motorist who they said tried to ram them down at a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday – a story disputed by his wife, who was with him in the car.
Salem Eid, the mayor of Biddu village, where the man lived, said Palestinians could raise the incident before the International Criminal Court, which the prosecutor said last month would formally investigate war crimes in the Palestinian territories.
In a statement, the IDF said the vehicle accelerated towards a group of soldiers “in a way that was life threatening” and that they responded with gunfire “to counteract the threat.”
The Palestinian health ministry said the man, identified as Osama Mansour, 42, was killed and his wife was shot and wounded. The military statement indicates that no soldier was injured during the late night incident.
“They told us to stop the car and we pulled over 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 started the car and moved and everyone started shooting at us.
When asked about the woman’s account, an IDF spokesperson said: “The attempted ram car attack earlier this morning is being investigated by the Brigade Commander. regional Binyamin. “
Eid disputed the military’s accusation that the driver carried out an attack, noting that he was the father of five children and that his wife was with him in the vehicle.
Citing security concerns, Israel maintains a network of military checkpoints in the West Bank, territory captured in the 1967 Middle East War.
Anti-Israel violence in the West Bank has included crashing cars as well as shootings. Rights groups have documented incidents in which they said Israeli troops were not justified in opening fire on Palestinians they saw as a threat at checkpoints.
(Reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah, Suhaib Salem and Nidal Al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem; editing by Giles Elgood)