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Activists say dozens of Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian village in the occupied West Bank, throwing stones at cars and houses and injuring several, including a Palestinian toddler

RAMALLAH, West Bank – Dozens of Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian village in the occupied West Bank, throwing stones at cars and houses and injuring several people, including a Palestinian toddler, activists said Wednesday.

Video of Tuesday’s attack posted by an Israeli rights group showed several shirtless settlers with scarves wrapped around their faces throwing stones at a cluster of houses and vehicles. Israeli troops stood among the settlers but did not appear to take any action to stop them.

The Israeli military declined to comment. Israeli police described it as a “friction incident” and said two Palestinians and a settler were arrested. He said people were injured on both sides and that he was still investigating the incident after complaints were filed on Wednesday.

Sami Hureini, a local Palestinian activist, said a group of Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian shepherd near the village of Mufaqara and slaughtered four of his sheep. He said they then stormed the village itself, attacking residents with batons and stones.

He said a four-year-old boy, Mohammed Bakr, had been hospitalized with a head injury.

Israeli human rights group B’Tselem posted a video of the attack and provided a similar account. He said Israeli troops fired tear gas at Palestinian residents and arrested at least one Palestinian. An Israeli soldier can be seen throwing a tear gas canister at the Palestinian who filmed the attack, then pushing him aside.

Nearly 500,000 Jewish settlers live in the occupied West Bank, which Israel seized in the 1967 war. The land is home to more than 2.5 million Palestinians, and Palestinians want it to be the main part of their future. State.

In addition to more than 120 authorized settlements, more radical settlers have established dozens of outposts in rural areas of the West Bank. Israeli authorities are reluctant to dismantle them as this usually triggers clashes between settlers and security forces. Palestinians and the international community view all settlements as illegal and an obstacle to peace.

B’Tselem said the settlers who participated in the attack came from two neighboring outposts, Avigayil and Havat Maon. The area has been the scene of a series of recent settler attacks. B’Tselem and other rights groups say Israeli forces often turn a blind eye to settler violence or side with settlers in clashes with Palestinians.

“What the Palestinians endured yesterday in the hills of southern Hebron is one of the biggest daylight attacks by settlers against a Palestinian community,” said Hagai El-Ad, director of B’Tselem.

“But you have to understand that this is not just random violence by the settlers. It’s strategic. Israel aims to forcibly transfer Palestinians from large parts of the West Bank. “

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Associated Press editors Joseph Krauss and Alon Bernstein in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

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