Israeli police kill Palestinian driver whose car struck other officers in east Jerusalem

Friday, June 11, 2010

Police kill Palestinian driver who hit officers

JERUSALEM — Israeli police shot and killed a Palestinian driver who fled after hitting two other officers in disputed east Jerusalem, police said.

Police were investigating the incident and the 41-year-old driver’s background before determining whether to treat the case as a politically motivated attack against police or a hit-and-run accident, national police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. The officers were slightly wounded.

The Palestinian, Zeyad Joulani, continued driving after hitting the officers, then abandoned his car and tried to flee on foot, Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said. When he ignored an order by other police officers to stop, they shot him, Ben-Ruby said. He later died of his wounds.

Joulani was driving another man who apparently had been injured in a stone-throwing incident in the area beforehand, Ben-Ruby said.

Tensions in east Jerusalem are high and sometimes turn violent over conflicting Israeli and Palestinian claims to that sector of the holy city.

Israel annexed east Jerusalem after capturing it from Jordan in 1967, but its sovereignty there is not recognized internationally. Palestinians hope to make the eastern sector the capital of their future state.

Hundreds of angry mourners carried Joulani’s body into the Al-Aqsa Mosque in east Jerusalem for a prayer service before burial at a nearby cemetery. Some carried flags of the violently anti-Israel Hamas group that rules the Gaza Strip, while others carried the flag of Turkey, once a close ally of Israel’s but now one of its fiercest critics in the Muslim world.

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