Bedouin car hit ‘not terror’
NEW FINDINGS on a clash between Israeli police and Bedouin residents in January which left a police officer and a local teacher dead have forced the Israeli security chiefs into an embarrassing climb-down.
Both Police Commissioner Ronny Alsheikh and Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan had insisted in the days after the incident that it had been a terror attack and that Yakub Abu al-Kian, who was shot dead on the spot, was motivated by jihadist beliefs to run down Police Sergeant Erez Amedi-Levi.
However, a probe by the Justice Ministry’s Department of Police Investigations has found that there is no proof of a terror attack and that the killing of the police officer and subsequent shooting were the result of a mix-up between the police forces present.
According to preliminary findings leaked to the Israeli media, the department is expected to conclude there was no terror attack at Um el-Hiran and that Mr Abu al-Kian had not intended to run over Sergeant Amedi-Levi.
Despite initial police reports that he had been accelerating and driving without lights, the department found that he had actually been driving under 20kph and with lights on.
Minister Erdan began the retraction last Thursday when he put out a statement saying that “if it turns out there was no terror attack at Um el-Hiran, we will have to apologise”.
Senior police officers have been quietly calling for an internal investigation into the operation carried out by the police’s Negev force at Um el-Hiran, claiming the officers involved in the eviction had been insufficiently prepared and had not taken the precautions necessary to prevent the escalation.