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Israeli settlers attacked palestinian family { June 13 2008 }

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Police probe alleged beating of Palestinian by Israeli settlers
June 13, 2008

JERUSALEM (AFP) Israeli police said on Friday they were investigating an alleged attack on Palestinians grazing their sheep near a Jewish settlement in the West Bank, an incident that was captured on video.

"An investigation has been opened. No one has been arrested," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

The incident came to light after BBC television aired footage of an attack by masked men who appeared to have come from a nearby settlement.

The men are seen brandishing baseball bats and are alleged to have brutally beaten an elderly shepherd and his wife who were grazing their flock in the hills outside the occupied West Bank town of Hebron, near the Susia settlement.

The footage was taken by a relative using one of 100 small video cameras the Israeli B'Tselem human rights groups handed out to Palestinians so they can record proof of attacks.

"The settlers gave us a 10-minute warning to clear off from the land," Thamam al-Nawaja, 58, told the BBC after spending three days in hospital following the attack.

She said she and 70-year-old husband stood their ground and that her arm was broken and her left cheek fractured in an ensuing attack.

Police claim such incidents are rare, but B'Tselem said it investigated 47 cases of physical assault, gunfire, beating, kicking, or stone throwing by settlers against Palestinians last year and reported them all to police.

"Based on B'Tselem's experience, the reported incidents are likely a small portion of the cases of settler violence against Palestinians," the group said in its 2007 annual report.

"In certain areas, such as Hebron's city centre, settler violence occurs daily," it said.

In another development, the Break the Silence rights group said settlers on Friday prevented its members from entering Hebron, where they lead guided tours aimed at demonstrating the "complexities of the occupation."

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