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Man shot dead by police after reportedly being mistaken for terrorist

An Israeli man misidentified as a Gazan terrorist was shot dead by police along Route 4 near the southern coastal city of Ashkelon, according to reports Sunday.

Police said they “neutralized” a car with Palestinian terrorists on the Route 4 highway Sunday as it raced northward from the Gaza border area before veering off into a field close to Ashkelon.

But reports in Hebrew-language media indicated that the man was an Israeli citizen and not a terrorist.

The incident came as security forces were on edge amid an unprecedented assault by Hamas terrorists on Gaza border communities a day earlier, after an unknown number of terrorists breached the Gaza border wall. Battles were ongoing Sunday in at least three communities infiltrated by terrorists, amid fears that more Hamas operatives could still be roaming free.

Police managed to halt the vehicle around Emunim Junction when the suspect fled into an open field, the Ynet news site and Channel 12 news reported.

Officers then pursued and shot him, the reports said.

An unnamed police official told Ynet that it was unclear why the man was driving recklessly and failed to answer police calls to stop.

According to a preliminary investigation, the man was likely a resident of a Gaza border community fleeing the war.

At least 600 people were killed and over 2,000 were wounded in the surprise onslaught, which caught Israel largely off-guard. Dozens of Israelis were thought to have been kidnapped and taken into the Gaza Strip.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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