New video footage has surfaced in Hebrew media of the deadly incident in the Beduin village of Umm al-Hiran in January in which shouts of “Don’t shoot” can be heard shortly before shots are fired by police at the vehicle of Yacoub Abu al-Kaeean.In the 33-second video of cars moving at a distance in the village, the voice of what seems to be a police officer is heard shouting “Don’t shoot! don’t shoot” and gunfire is heard a few seconds after.This comes as the Justice Ministry Police Internal Investigations Department (PID), according to reports that emerged last month, is expected to conclude that the Umm al-Hiran incident was not a terrorist attack.The Umm al-Hiran affair began before dawn on January 18 when police arrived to carry out court-ordered demolitions aimed at forcing residents to move, on the state’s terms, to the nearby town of Hura so a new town can be built on the site of the village.
״לא לירות!, לא לירות!״ ואז נשמעת ירייה. תיעוד חדש מהאירוע הקשה באום אל חירן במהלכו נהרגו שוטר ואזרח pic.twitter.com/J4b25HjXSt— Itsik Zuarets (@Itsik_zuarets) March 27, 2017
In previously aired recordings, al-Kaeean’s is seen slowly approaching a group of officers in his vehicle at approximately 5:35 a.m., and at 5:36 a.m. gunfire was registered, according to the videoand image-analysis organization Forensic Architecture. Shortly after the shots, the vehicle rapidly accelerated and hit police officer Erez Levi, killing him. A few hours later, police said it was a deliberate ramming attack and insinuated that al-Kaeean was connected to ISIS, despite multiple eyewitnesses who stated that al-Kaeean’s vehicle accelerated only after shots were fired.Umm al-Hiran residents voiced disbelief that al-Kaeean, a respected and well-liked teacher, could have carried out an attack.The Police Investigations Department opened a probe into the incident the following day.However, after reports last month that the PID will find police mishandling as causing the two deaths, both Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and police officials have declined to call the attack terrorism.Erdan said he would issue an apology if the PID investigation showed the incident was not a deliberate attack. “If it becomes clear that it was not an attack, then, certainly, it is necessary to apologize to the family,” Erdan said in a statement on Facebook last month.Earlier this month, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel gave a qualified apology to the family of the Beduin teacher stating: “If there really was a failure in Umm al-Hiran, I say here to you that I apologize profoundly.We will wait for the results of the investigation, but there are various voices saying there were severe failures and, if there were, I ask to apologize to, visit and speak personally with the family.”
Video and audio of police operation in Umm al-Hiran, Credit: Forensic Architecture