TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — A Palestinian driver slammed his truck into soldiers at a busy checkpoint in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, killing one of them before being shot dead, Israeli authorities said, in the latest bloodshed in a relentless cycle of violence to roil the region.
The violence came a day after Israeli police shot and killed a 14-year-old Palestinian boy who stabbed a man in a Jerusalem light-rail station and after Palestinian militants detonated a bomb near a convoy of Israeli troops escorting Jewish worshippers to a holy site in the West Bank, wounding four Israeli troops.
The unrest is part of more than a yearlong wave of violence that has surged to levels unseen in the West Bank in some two decades.
According to Israeli authorities, the driver, identified as a 41-year-old Palestinian from the West Bank, was moving east toward the crossing when he spotted the soldiers near a bagel stand. He made a U-turn and slammed into the soldiers, who were in uniform.
An Israeli military official said the driver had a permit to work legally in Israel and used a vehicle with an Israeli license plate that did not belong to him to carry out the ramming. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with military regulations.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said one Israeli was killed in the attack and the military later identified him as a soldier. In a statement, the military said three other soldiers were injured. The military official said a bagel vendor who is a Palestinian citizen of Israel also was injured.
After the attack, the driver sped away, and he was shot and killed by security guards at a separate checkpoint nearby, police said.
Video circulating on social media showed a white truck surrounded by security guards at the second checkpoint as gunshots rang out. Palestinian media identified the driver as Tahaer Daras, a resident of Deir Ammar near the West Bank city of Ramallah.
The checkpoint where the truck rammed the soldiers is on a major highway leading from central Israel through the West Bank and into Jerusalem and is next to the Israeli city of Modiin. The checkpoint is typically packed with commuters and security guards or soldiers.
Palestinian assaults against Israelis have spiked alongside Israel’s intensification of arrest raids in the West Bank since early last year. More than 30 people have been killed in Palestinian attacks against Israelis since the start of 2023.
The near-nightly raids have fueled tensions in the region and have ushered in some of the worst fighting between Israel and the Palestinians in the West Bank since the last Palestinian uprising in the early 2000s.
More than 180 Palestinians have been killed in the violence, with nearly half of them affiliated with militant groups, according to a tally by The Associated Press. Israel says most of those killed were militants, but stone-throwing youths protesting the incursions as well as people not involved in the confrontations have also died.
Israel says the raids are meant to dismantle militant networks and thwart future attacks. Palestinians say the raids undermine their security forces, inspire more militancy and entrench Israeli control over lands they seek for a hoped-for future state.
Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war, along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.