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Fayyad: Israel to blame for checkpoint killing

July 30, 2012 5:24 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 1, 2012 9:52 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Monday blamed the Israeli government for the shooting of a 46-year-old Palestinian at a checkpoint near Jerusalem.

Israeli border police opened fire at a Palestinian vehicle at a checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem shortly after midnight on Monday, killing Hasan Omar and wounding two other passengers, Palestinian officials and an Israeli police spokesman said.

"The root cause of the problem is having the Israeli occupation and these checkpoints on our land which cause the killing of many people by either Israeli soldiers or settlers" Fayyad said in a statement.

Israel's failure to hold its forces accountable for criminal acts meant that violations continued, the PA premier added.

Fayyad also said he doubted Israel's account of the incident.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told Ma'an that a vehicle tried to pass the al-Zaayyem checkpoint without stopping and ignored border patrol officers orders to halt at around 12.30 a.m.

"A border police officer opened fire at the vehicle in order to stop it from fleeing the scene," Rosenfeld said, adding that the vehicle fled the scene after the shooting.

Asked if the vehicle was fleeing into Israel or back to Ramallah when the officer opened fire, Rosenfeld said he did not know the details but that an inquiry would investigate the incident.

Khalid Abdullah, who was in the vehicle, told Ma'an that border guards opened fire without ordering the driver to stop.

"We were 13 workers in a Ford Transit traveling to our working place in Jerusalem. Before we arrived at al-Zaayyem checkpoint, the driver received a message from another driver who approached the checkpoint telling him that strict procedures were being applied and he should go back," Abdullah said.

"As the driver started to turn, border guard officers opened fire at the car without asking the driver to stop," he added.

Hasan Omar was hit several times in the chest and abdomen and died at a Ramallah hospital, medics said. Ashraf Abdullah was hit in his shoulder and thigh while Khalid Imad Abdullah was shot in his right leg.
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