Teacher shot dead, police officer killed and Palestinian Joint List MP Ayman Odeh injured in Umm al-Hiran, a village marked for demolition
A Palestinian citizen of Israel and an Israeli police officer were killed in clashes over home demolitions in southern Israel on Wednesday. A prominent Palestinian Joint List MP was also injured.
Israeli officials allege Yacoub Abu al-Qiyan was shot dead as he drove his car at police officers in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran, in the Negev desert.
Police said an officer, Erez Levi, was killed in the alleged ramming. Villagers however said al-Qiyan was simply driving to the scene to talk to authorities in an attempt to halt the demolitions.
Ayman Odeh, a Palestinian Knesset member, was also injured in the head by police during the confrontation, a parliamentary aide who was with him said.
A police statement said that the man killed was active in the Israeli Islamic Movement and may have been influenced by the Islamic State organisation - a claim residents strongly denied.
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Umm al-Hiran village activist Raed Abu al-Qiyan denied the dead man was seeking to harm police.
"The Israeli narrative is a lie. He was a revered school teacher. He has no relations with the Islamic Movement," he told the AFP news agency.
"He was in his car and they shot at him from everywhere."
Police said officers were injured during the early morning incident, without providing further details.
"A vehicle driven by a terrorist from the Islamic Movement intended to strike a number officers and carry out an attack," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said in a statement.
"The officers responded and the terrorist was neutralised."
"As a result of the incident there were riots that took place in the area that police responded to."
The injured politician heads the Joint List, a coalition of mainly Arab parties and the third-largest bloc in parliament.
"They attacked the MP and other people - demonstrators - with stun grenades, tear gas directly in people's faces," Odeh's aide, Anan Maalouf, told Israeli army radio.
"There was no car-ramming attack here. There were no clashes here between the demonstrators and police."
Israeli authorities regularly carry out demolitions of Bedouin homes they deem to have been built illegally.
However, building permits are nearly impossible to obtain, according to residents and activists, who say Jewish Israelis are given preferential treatment in housing allotment.
Protesters clash with Israeli police in Umm Al-Hiran (Reuters)