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Palestinian Motorist Killed After Running Down Israelis - 2002-01-28


A Palestinian driver was shot dead Monday in Tel Aviv after injuring two Israeli soldiers and a policeman. The incident came just one day after a Palestinian woman carried out a bombing in downtown Jerusalem.

The Palestinian came from the West Bank town of Qalqilya, ramming through an Israeli military checkpoint at high speed, knocking down a soldier.

The driver then headed to the Israeli town of Petah Tikva, outside Tel Aviv, where he crashed into a car, injuring two other Israelis.

He then commandeered another car, driving it to Tel Aviv, where he knocked down a woman soldier and a policeman.

Shortly afterward, the driver was shot dead by Israeli police.

Eyewitnesses initially said the driver had opened fire with a pistol before being shot dead, but Israeli police later said no weapons or ammunition were found on the vehicle.

The incident sparked a massive police manhunt, amid already heightened tensions following a bombing in Jerusalem Sunday carried out by a Palestinian woman, possibly on a suicide mission.

Israeli police have imposed what they termed "unprecedented security" in West Jerusalem for fear of new Palestinian bombings and shooting attacks.

Hundreds of extra police and soldiers from around the country were brought in with the aim of making residents and business owners feel more secure in Jaffa Road, the scene of Sunday's bombing as well as an attack last week by a Palestinian gunman who killed two Israeli women.

The Palestinian Authority has condemned the attacks, but it said Israeli military incursions into the West Bank and Gaza Strip were raising tensions.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon says Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is directly responsible for the bloodshed for failing to rein in Palestinian militants.

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