scene of incident in Umm Al-Hiran
scene of incident in Umm Al-Hiran Police Spokespersons Unit

The Justice Ministry has finished its year-long probe into January's fatal shooting of a Bedouin schoolteacher in the illegal village of Umm Al-Hiran. The conclusions were passed to the attorney general, who will now decide whether to file charges.

Bedouin schoolteacher Yakoub Abu Elkiyan was killed by police after he allegedly ran over policeman Erez Levy during a demolition of illegally built houses in the Bedouin town of Umm al Hiran.

Initially, the incident during which policeman Erez Levy was killed and the driver shot dead was classified by the police and other authorities as a terrorist ramming attack. However, a subsequent investigation revealed problematic functioning on the part of police in the area including friendly fire by forces from two different units. In addition, the car Levy had been in was not properly lit up in the early morning.

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) recently offered a qualified apology for the incident in the Bedouin city Rahat.

"If there really was a failre in Umm al-Hiran, I say here to you that I apologize profoundly. We will wait for the results of the investigation, but there are various voices saying there were failures and if there were, I ask to give my apology to the family."

Justice Ministry officials had finished the probe in September but State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan ordered the investigation reopened in wake of new evidence provided by the Shin Bet internal security agency.

Police Spokeswoman Meirav Lapidot insisted in November that police still viewed the incident as a terror attack. "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," said Lapidot.

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