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Police won't face charges over Umm Al-Hiran shooting: report

Affrontements entre policiers et bédouins lors d'une opération de démolition à Umm Al Hiran, en Israël, le 18 janvier 2017
AHMAD GHARABLI (AFP)
It is unclear whether the probe will make a call on whether the incident was an intentional terror attack

Police officers who shot and killed an Israeli man who they said was attempting to commit a car ramming attack during protests at the Bedouin village of Umm Al-Hiran in January will not face charges, Channel Two reported on Tuesday.

A video of the incident and autopsy of the man, Yacoub Abu Al-Qiyan, later raised questions about the police version of events, and suggested al-Qivan may have involuntarily accelerated towards a group of policeman - killing one - because a police officer shot him in the knee.

The Police Internal Investigations Unit of the Ministry of Justice are preparing to close the case without filing an indictment, the report said, because there is insufficient evidence to support a prosecution.

It is unclear whether the probe will make a call on whether the incident was an intentional terror attack or an accident, according to the report.

A few hours after the television report, the Ministry of Justice released a statement saying that no final decision has been made.

"The [Internal Investigations Unit] recently submitted its opinion and recommendation to the State Attorney and he will decide. When a decision is made on the matter, an official announcement will be made public, as is customary," the statement said.

At the time, a police statement said that the "terrorist [Abu Al-Qiyan] belongs to the Islamic Movement in the south," and that police were investigating "if the terrorist was influenced by the Islamic State."

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said the “the unequivocal conclusion of the police” was that the incident was a terror attack, but he later conceded that it could have been an accident and said he would apologize if the internal probe came to that conclusion.

The disturbances occurred during police raids on the Bedouin village as they attempted to evacuate and relocate the residents in preparation for the demolition of the village. The officially unrecognized town is mooted to be replaced by a planned town called Hiran.

Ayman Sikseck/ i24NEWS

Separately on Tuesday, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel released a document from the co-operative planning the new settlement that said only observant Jews would be allowed to live in the new settlement, despite a claim by the government before the Supreme Court that it would be open to people of all faiths and backgrounds.

However, legal precedents mean it is unlikely that the co-operative will be able to enforce their regulations, Haaretz reported.

In a statement to The Jerusalem Post in January, a nephew of Al-Qiyan said: “We want an apology from those who said he belonged to Islamic State and that he ran over the policeman.”

“What happened was that he lost control after he was shot. We want an independent commission of inquiry so that the truth will come out,” he continued.

However, the principal at the Salaam school where Qiyan worked, Fuad Abu al-Kaeean, told the newspaper that he was a “man of peace.”

“He was an outstanding teacher, erudite, understanding, with good capabilities, a good person, he loved everyone, a happy person who loved life, a man of peace, not a man of violence. He is not how they are describing him. He loved everyone and did everything for his students. He devoted himself [to others].”

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