'Police still believe incident in Umm Al-Hiran was terror'

Spokeswoman says police version of events has not changed, despite reopening of investigation into events in illegal Bedouin settlement.

Eliran Aharon,

Meirav Lapidot
Meirav Lapidot
Udi Portal

Police Spokeswoman Meirav Lapidot said on Tuesday that police are still certain that a terror attack took place in Umm Al-Hiran last January, when an officer was killed by a local driver.

Responding to a question in light of reports of new evidence during a panel discussion on "Police in a Democratic Society" at the annual Eilat media conference, Lapidot said, "We never changed our version of events, and we have good reasons for this.”

We believe it was a terrorist attack, and we will let the Police Investigative Division finish its investigation. Even with everything we know today, we cannot provide a different answer to what happened. We, as the police, have never changed our version."

In January, A police officer was killed and another injured, when a Bedouin attacked security forces securing the demolition of illegal structures in the Bedouin settlement of Umm Al-Hiran in southern Israel.

Police units were deployed to the Negev settlement before dawn to protect the demolition team from demonstrators who had gathered at the site of the planned eviction.

Before the operation was completed, however, a car driven by an Islamic Movement sympathiser rammed a group of officers.

Police responded immediately to the attack, shooting and killing the attacker.

Last week, in the wake of new evidence provided by the Shin Bet regarding events at Umm al-Hiran ten months ago, State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan ordered the investigation reopened.

The order centered around the discovery of a classified document of Shin Bet security services which police said had initially been removed from the police investigation file.

The original decision of police investigations was that police had acted correctly and shot the Bedouin driver, thinking that he was a terrorist. Arabs contended that he had lost control of the car after being shot.




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