31 August 2023

One killed after Palestinian drives into soldiers at West Bank checkpoint

31 August 2023

A Palestinian man used his truck to drive into pedestrians at a busy West Bank checkpoint, killing one person and injuring others.

The driver was later shot dead by Israeli authorities at a second checkpoint after initially speeding away from the scene.

The violence came a day after Israeli police shot and killed a 14-year-old Palestinian boy who stabbed a man in a Jerusalem light-rail station and after Palestinian militants detonated a bomb near a convoy of Israeli soldiers escorting Jewish worshippers to a holy site in the West Bank, wounding four Israeli troops.

The unrest is part of more than a year-long wave of violence that has surged to levels unseen in the West Bank in some two decades.

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said one person was killed in the attack and paramedics say at least two others were injured.

Israel’s Defence Ministry said the driver sped away and was stopped by security guards at a separate checkpoint nearby. Police added that the driver was killed.

Avi Biton, a regional police chief, said the driver, whom he identified as a 41-year-old West Bank resident, drove a truck into a group of soldiers.

Video circulating on social media showed a white truck surrounded by security guards at the second checkpoint as gunshots rang out.

The checkpoint where the truck rammed the pedestrians occurred is on a major highway leading from central Israel through the West Bank and into Jerusalem and is next to the Israeli city of Modiin. The checkpoint is typically packed with commuters and security guards or soldiers.

Palestinian assaults against Israelis have spiked alongside Israel’s intensification of arrest raids in the West Bank since the spring. Some 30 people have been killed in Palestinian attacks against Israelis since the start of 2023.

The near-nightly raids have fuelled tensions in the region and have ushered in some of the worst fighting between Israel and the Palestinians in the West Bank since the last Palestinian uprising in the early 2000s.

Nearly 180 Palestinians have been killed in the violence, about half of them affiliated with militant groups, according to a tally by The Associated Press.

Israel says most of those killed were militants, but stone-throwing youths protesting the incursions as well as people not involved in the confrontations have also died.

Israel says the raids are meant to dismantle militant networks and thwart future attacks, but Palestinians say the raids undermine their security forces, inspire more militancy and entrench Israeli control over lands they seek for a hoped-for future state.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war, along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

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