Palestinian driver killed in alleged attack on Israeli guard

JERUSALEM (AP) — A Palestinian driver died on Tuesday after he was shot by an Israeli policeman at a check-point in the West Bank in what police said was an attempted attack on Israeli military personnel.

But the man’s family cast doubt on the police account, saying he was planning to get married next week and had no reason to attack Israeli security forces.

According to police, the driver attempted to run over a member of the paramilitary border police force at the check-point east of Jerusalem and an officer opened fire at the vehicle.

The driver later died of his wounds and the border police officer suffered minor injuries, police said.

Police did not immediately release video of the incident, and there was no way to independently verify the account.

Israeli policemen stand around the body of a Palestinian at a checkpoint near Jerusalem. PHOTO: AP

Police released a photo that appeared to show the vehicle after it had collided into the checkpoint.

Relatives identified the man as Ahmed Erekat, a 27-year-old owner of a printing shop. They said Erekat had rented the car as he prepared for his sister’s wedding party later Tuesday, and his own wedding was scheduled next week. “There is no way on earth he would attempt to carry out an attack,” his cousin, Hiba Erekat, said.

In recent years, Israel has seen car-ramming attacks, shootings and stabbings carried out mostly by lone Palestinian attackers with no apparent links to armed groups.

But Palestinians and human rights groups have also accused Israeli security forces of using excessive force, or in some cases opening fire at cars that merely lost control.