Driver shot dead and six police injured in Jerusalem 'car ramming'

Incident happened at a roadblock set up to control access to a street in Sheikh Jarrah, where residents are fighting a court eviction order

A driver was shot dead and six police officers wounded on Sunday in an alleged car-ramming attack in Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, which has been a focal point of protests over Israeli eviction orders against Palestinian residents.

Two of those wounded were carried away on stretchers while the male driver, who has not been formally identified, lay on the road beside the car.

The incident happened at a roadblock that was set up in recent weeks to control access to a street where residents are fighting a court eviction order.

Riot police often block access to the area, where protesters have rallied in support of the Palestinian residents. Across the street, allies of Jewish settlers living there have gathered.

Israeli security forces have used rubber bullets, stun grenades, mounted officers and other means to disperse people.

Some demonstrators have set bins alight in the neighbourhood and thrown rocks at police.

The contested houses were built by the Jordanian authorities for Palestinian refugees in the 1950s, while plaintiffs say they have paperwork proving prior ownership of the land.

Israel has occupied East Jerusalem since 1967 and the Sheikh Jarrah case has captured global attention.

Protests in the neighbourhood grew in recent weeks with those around Jerusalem's Old City, in which hundreds of Palestinians and dozens of Israeli officers have been wounded.

The recent storming by security forces of Al Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, sparked outrage among Palestinians and international calls for restraint.

Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, responded by firing rockets towards Jerusalem on Monday and Israel by launching air strikes into the enclave.

A devastating conflict has since erupted, which has killed 192 Palestinians and at least eight people in Israel.

Updated: May 17, 2021 04:04 AM