Relatives of the Arab driver who committed a car-ramming attack Sunday morning injuring two soldiers and a Border Policeman before being shot are rejecting the police’s assertion that the incident was terror related.
His father told Ynet, “Why would my son do such a thing? All that happened is he took his pregnant wife to the hospital for a checkup and intended to return home.” He added that he was not informed of his son’s condition after he was shot and moderately wounded by security forces at the scene.
At the end of an assessment of the situation at the Acre police station at noon Sunday, police determined that the incident was a terrorist attack. The announcement stated findings at the scene indicated that this was a nationalistic attack by the driver, a 26-year-old Arab-Israeli from the north of the country. Police noted that the driver tried to run over police officers and soldiers in several arenas deliberately.
The police also clarified that there was no connection between the traffic ticket given to the driver and his actions. The wounded were all evacuated to the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya, where it was reported that the 21-year-old Border Policeman was moderately wounded. Two IDF soldiers were wounded lightly.
In addition, a 51-year-old man wounded in the head and leg during the incident was still receiving treatment in an emergency room. A 23-year-old woman who suffered from shock was released to her home.
The police commander of the region, Deputy Inspector Benny Abaliya, said that, "There is a certainty of almost 100 percent, if not 100 percent, that this is a terror attack." He added that the driver had already been questioned and that his background was being investigated both by the police and by the Shin Bet security service.
Abaliya visited the wounded in the attack together with the police commander of the coastal district, Inspector Peretz Amar. Nahariya hospital director Dr. Mas'ad Barhoum appraised them of the condition of the injured.
Earlier, police visited the perpetrator's home and conducted a search. “They made a huge mess in the house. I asked the officers who will clean up the house. They responded ‘When he returns he will clean up,’” said the father. “They found nothing,” he added.
He described his son as a respectful young man who worked with him in his framing shop. “You can ask anyone in the city about him.”
Another close relative of the driver said, "The guy who was wounded recently got married, his wife is pregnant, he is really waiting for his first son. He always said, 'I'm dying to see my son,' 'I'm in favor of peace and living together without any problems or harming people,'" he said.
In his words, “There is no way he would do a terror attack. He really loves his wife and did everything for their success. Many times I heard him say that he is for peace and coexistence without any problems or harming of others.”
He argued that the “police wanted to frame him on trumped up charges. They are the ones behind conflicts in the country. If the driver were a Jew, they would not say that the case is nationalist, an Arab is always suspected of the most serious acts," he said.
Another relative said, "From what I understood he got mad at a parking ticket. Apparently, he felt threatened and did not know how he hurt anyone." He added that, "The wounded man (the driver—ed) had a psychiatric problem in the past. He may still be suffering from it."
Shimon Cohen, an eyewitness at the scene, told Ynet: "He drove up on the sidewalk, hit the traffic sign and bushes, and then ran over a Border Policeman. The driver received an NIS 1,000 ticket for parking in a disabled parking spot and got angry and drove onto the sidewalk, hit the traffic sign and bushes, and ran over a Border Policeman. The policeman fired, but did not hit him. The driver continued to drive toward a railway station and hit two more. I did not see that."