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Israeli forces fatally shoot Palestinian driver in northern West Bank

Family of slain 36-year-old father and teacher said he had likely lost control of his car, while Israel's military accuses the man of attempting a car ramming attack
Images from the scene showed a damaged police vehicle next to the Palestinian's car, which also showed severe damage (Credit: Twitter)

Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian motorist in the occupied West Bank on Saturday, the latest casualty in a recent spate of violence.

The Israeli military said the man had tried to ram soldiers, but his family said they believed he had lost control of his car in a crash.

The Palestinian foreign ministry condemned the killing, which it said was a deliberate "execution".

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The man has been identified as Mohammad Ali Abu Kafia, a 36-year-old school teacher and father of three.

Speaking to official Palestinian news agency Wafa, Abu Kafia's cousin has claimed that Israeli forces opened fire after a crash.

"Shortly after the car crash, Israeli police officers who were present at the scene, instead of trying to help the man, opened gunfire at him, killing him right away," the cousin, named only as Ramadan, told the news agency. 

Images from the scene showed a damaged police vehicle next to the Palestinian's car, which also appears to have been severely damaged.

Middle East Eye could not immediately verify either account.

The incident occurred near the city of Nablus, in the northern West Bank, which has been a focal point of several months of violence, one of the worst such surges in several years. 

The Israeli military said a soldier and a police officer saw a vehicle speeding up as it headed straight at them in what it said was an apparent attempt to ram into them. The soldier then shot towards the vehicle, it said, and the suspect was "neutralised".

The driver's family confirmed he was dead and said they believed Abu Kafia had likely lost control of his car.

Israel has killed at least 70 Palestinians in the West Bank since its military launched "Operation Breakwater" on 31 March following a string of fatal Palestinian street attacks in Israel. 

US-brokered peace talks between the sides, aimed at establishing a Palestinian state in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, collapsed in 2014, while Israel has expanded settlements in several areas.

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