Police early Monday gunned down an Arab car thief, part of a gang that had stolen dozens of vehicles in the Sharon area, after he and his gang led police on a high-speed chase toward Palestinian Authority-controlled areas, where police would be powerless to arrest them.
The incident occurred around 4:00 a.m. Monday, when police tracked down and arrested four members of the gang on Road 57, between Netanya and Tul Karem. Police noticed two other vehicles on the road – vehicles that had been reported stolen just minutes before by their owners in Netanya. A third vehicle was driving behind them slowly, attempting to impede police from following the stolen cars on the single-lane highway.
Police set up a checkpoint further down the road, but the thieves drove through it, hitting several police cars that were blocking the road. At that point police again ordered the vehicles to stop – but fearing that they would try to run down officers, police opened fire at one of the vehicles. The driver was badly injured in the gunfire, and he was taken to an Israeli hospital, where he later died of his wounds. Several officers were lightly injured. Altogether, six Arab members of the gang were arrested.
Overnight Monday, security officials said they arrested 17 wanted security suspects in other areas in Yehudah and Shomron. The suspects were wanted for participating in rioting and throwing stones and firebombs that endangered Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers. Several of the suspects were also charged with belonging to Hamas. All were being questioned on their activities by security forces.