By YAAKOV LAPPIN
The driver of an Australian embassy vehicle carrying three Australian Federal Police officers – who arrived in Israel this week to investigate the use of Australian passports in the assassination of Hamas terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh – has denied striking a cyclist and driving away from the scene of the accident on Wednesday, a spokeswoman from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
“We’re taking this issue very seriously. According to the embassy car driver and passenger, no contact was made between the embassy car and the cyclist,” the spokeswoman said.
“The embassy has not been contacted by anyone. We are seeking to contact the cylcist reportedly involved,” she added.
The departmental spokeswoman refused to confirm that the vehicle contained Australian police officers.
A Tel Aviv police spokeswoman said no complaint had been received about the alleged incident. “We don’t know of any such hit and run accident,” she said.
Yet in an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, the cyclist, 22-year-old political activist Oshra Bar of Jaffa, said the armored Toyota Brado clipped her back wheel and left lacerations on her legs.
“I was crossing the street on my bicycle and I heard this car come screeching out of nowhere. I turned around and it was driving straight at me,” she told the Herald.
“I was frightened for my life. I knew that it was going to hit.”
Bar said there was “no doubt that they knew [they] had hit me,” adding that she was “appalled and shocked that they didn’t stop.”
She has demanded that the Australian government apologize and replace her bicycle wheel.
The Herald reported that an Israeli driver was behind the wheel, adding that he allegedly drove at high speed to evade journalists eager to view the police delegation.