JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel and the Palestinians put forth competing claims after Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian man early Tuesday at a temporary vehicle checkpoint in the occupied West Bank near Jerusalem.
The military said the soldiers thwarted an attempted car-ramming attack in the village of Bir Nabala. But the man’s wife, who was in the car with him and was wounded by the gunfire, said the couple followed the soldiers’ instructions and posed no threat.
Palestinian attackers have carried out a series of car-ramming attacks in recent years, often targeting soldiers in the occupied West Bank. But rights groups say Israeli troops often use excessive force, or in some cases kill innocent people wrongly identified as attackers.
The Israeli military said the soldiers set up a temporary checkpoint in order to carry out an operation in the area. It said the vehicle stopped at the checkpoint and then accelerated toward troops “in a way that endangered the lives of the soldiers.”
“The soldiers responded with fire in order to thwart the threat,” it said, adding that no Israeli soldiers were wounded.
The Palestinian Authority, which governs parts of the West Bank, identified the deceased as Osama Mansour, 42, and said the soldiers opened fire “for no reason” after waving the vehicle through the checkpoint. It condemned what it referred to as a “heinous crime.”
Mansour’s wife, Sumaya, was wounded and taken to a hospital, where she described the shooting in an interview broadcast by Palestine TV.
She said they were ordered to stop and did so, even turning off the car’s ignition. She said a soldier then motioned for them to drive through, at which point they started the car and moved forward.
“They began shooting at us,” she said. “My husband fell into my lap and was killed.”
The army did respond to a request for comment on her allegations, saying only that the incident was being investigated.
Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 war and the Palestinians want it to form the main part of their future state. There have been no substantive peace talks in more than a decade.