Two dead in Negev clashes as Bedouin village demolition gets under way


An Israeli police officer was killed and several people were injured today in a suspected terrorist attack in the Negev.
Sergeant Major Erez Levi, 34, died when a vehicle was driven into a police line in the town of Umm-al-Hiran. The attack took place amid violent clashes as security forces evacuated the town to prepare it for demolition.
The driver of the vehicle was shot and killed by police. He was Yaqoub Mousa Abu Al-Qia’an, a terrorist with possible Islamic State links who “accelerated toward the officers with the intent of carrying out a ramming attack”, according to police.
Local residents disputed this, telling Israel Radio the driver was a schoolteacher who had been shot by police in an unprovoked attack and was seriously wounded when his car rammed into the officers.
There were clashes during the day as police enacted a Supreme Court ruling permitting the demolition of Umm-al-Hiran, a Bedouin town, to replace it with a Jewish village.
The court ruling was based on the argument that the Arab villagers were due to receive 800 sq m family plots in the nearby town of Hura, which was built by the government in 1989 specifically as a place to absorb Bedouin from nearby, unrecognised villages.
Police reportedly fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters, who threw stones. Among those injured was another policeman and Joint (Arab) List faction leader MK Ayman Odeh, who had joined the protesters.

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