Last updated: 6 November, 2014

Palestinian who ran over three soldiers turns himself in

A Palestinian who ran over three Israeli soldiers in the southern West Bank overnight turned himself in to the security forces on Thursday, the army said.

The incident took place near the Gush Etzion settlement bloc late on Wednesday, several hours after a Palestinian deliberately ran down two groups of pedestrians in Jerusalem, killing a border policeman.

Police described the Jerusalem violence as a “hit and run terror attack” with the West Bank incident widely believed to be a copycat attack.

“The Palestinian suspected of running over the three soldiers last night turned himself in to the security forces and has been taken for investigation,” an army statement said.

The vehicle, which had Palestinian plates, ran over three soldiers, one of whom was critically injured, police said.

The driver fled the scene, prompting a huge manhunt to locate him.

Palestinian witnesses in Al-Arub refugee camp between Bethlehem and Hebron said soldiers had found the vehicle abandoned and traced the owner to Beit Awwa village, southwest of Hebron.

Relatives confirmed to AFP that Hamam Masalmeh, 23, from Beit Awwa in the southern West Bank, had turned himself in to the security forces, insisting that the incident was nothing more than a road accident.

“He turned himself in to the Israeli forces,” his uncle Omar Masalmeh told AFP.

“He vehemently denies it was an attack and insists it was an accident in which he lost control of the car.”

A police statement said the soldiers were hit by a vehicle with Palestinian licence plates as they stood guard outside Al-Arub camp at around 2000 GMT.

Following the incident, Israeli troops raided Al-Arub camp and searched homes in Beit Awwa, residents said.