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(photo credit: AP [file])
Defense Minister Amir Peretz slammed settlers from the Maon outpost on Wednesday and called on the IDF and the police to crack down on the far-right activists who have been behind a series of recent attacks on Palestinian schoolchildren from a nearby village.
"This is severe phenomenon that does not have a place in Israeli society," Peretz said. "We will not let criminals attack and hurt defenseless kids and we will do everything to stop them."
On Saturday, settlers from Maon clashed with IDF troops who were accompanying a group of Palestinian children from school back to their nearby village. According to the army, the settlers laid an ambush for the army force and attacked the soldiers as they passed the settlement, located in the southern Hebron Hills. Four soldiers and two Palestinians were injured in the clashes.
The settlers, the army said, threw rocks and cement blocks at the students, mostly young children between ages 6 and 11. One of the settlers, the army said, even commanded his dog to attack the soldiers and the schoolchildren. Soldiers fired their weapons in the air to disperse the settlers, the army said.
"We will operate with our full resolve against anyone who breaks the law," Peretz added while ordering the IDF and the Israel Police to beef up their presence in the area and to take immediate action to capture the Israeli attackers.