Late on April 1, A Palestinian driver hit three Israelis south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem in what was described by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) as a ramming attack.
The IDF said in a statement that the driver was shot dead on the spot. The three casualties, all in their early twenties, were treated at the scene by paramedics and rushed to a nearby hospital. One was reportedly in serious condition and the two others were lightly wounded.
The alleged ramming attack came just a day after Israeli security forces shot and killed 26-year-old Palestinian civilian Mohammed Elasibi in Jerusalem’s old city.
Israeli Police claimed that Elasibi was gunned down after he attempted to take an officer’s weapon. However, witnesses and family members denied the police version of events, saying that the young man was “killed in cold blood”.
The Hamas Movement and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad both praised the ramming attack in Bethlehem and called a natural response to the killing of Elasibi.
Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians spiked in the last few days. The IDF announced on March 21 it was imposing a closure on the West Bank, with crossing points closed to Palestinians on the first and last days of the upcoming Passover holiday. Gaza border crossings will also close.
Since the start of the year, 15 Israelis have been killed in attacks carried out by Palestinians. During the same period, the IDF and security forces killed 86 Palestinians. Violence will likely continue, as Tel Aviv does not appear to be willing to de-escalate.