The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on Sunday extended by two days the remand of three settlers arrested last week for attacking three undercover Israel Police officers on a hilltop in the South Hebron Hills.
The police were posing as Palestinian shepherds as part of an undercover sting to fight settler violence against Palestinian civilians, police said.
According to the court protocol, on Thursday,
three cops dressed as Palestinian shepherds were standing on a hill outside
Sussiya when a settler approached them and told them they had one minute to
leave. Police said the suspect then made a phone call and within moments, three
additional suspects arrived armed with sticks, with their T-shirts pulled over
their faces as masks.
Police said the men immediately began attacking the
officers, who began yelling “police! police!” and fighting back, using pepper
spray and arresting the three suspects.
The fourth man, the one who
initially called the three suspects for back-up, fled and has not been
Police said that one of the officers was hit in the back of the
neck with a stick, and one was kicked by one of the suspects.
to police, the undercover operation was called after a long series of attacks in
the South Hebron Hills by settlers against Palestinian shepherds and leftwing
activists working with them.
The suspects, Shimon Ben- Gigi, 22, Ilan
Fier Yan Vinelda, 43, and David Popko, 24, all live in Sussiya, according to the
The suspects’ attorney told the judge that the incident
took place next to Sussiya in the “patrol area” of a farm called Mount Sinai
where owner, Yair Har-Sinai, then 51 and a father of nine, was murdered by
gunmen in 2001.
The attorney said Har- Sinai’s wife saw three men just
next to her farm who appeared to be shepherds but had no flock with them, only a
single donkey, and became scared and called for help.
The attorney added
that since there was not any IDF or police presence nearby she called the nearby
settlement security officers, who came to her assistance.
added that the undercover action endangered the safety of the
Also on Sunday, left-wing activists reported that a group of
masked settlers attacked Palestinian olive pickers working on a field they own
next to the settlement of Nachliel. A fight broke out and soldiers fired in the
air to scatter the two sides, the activists said.
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