Police detain 20 involved in clash at Hirbat Safa

Settlers, Palestinians clash in Gush Etzion; as a result teen, 17, shot, critically injured; Israeli hikers say Palestinians opened fire at them.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
January 28, 2011 11:37
2 minute read.
A police officer closes off the area where three o

West bank attack 311. (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Judea and Samaria police detained 20 individuals involved in the clashes between Palestinians and Bat Ayin settlers near the village of Hirbat Safa in Gush Etzion where a 17-year-old Palestinian was shot and critically injured Friday.

The detainees, who come from different areas, were in the vicinity of the clashes and police were taking their statements.

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Initial reports said a group of Israelis hiking near the village of Hirbat Safa and Beit Ummar came under fire and returned fire of their own.

As a result of the incident, Palestinian sources reported about 150 Bat Ayin residents arrived at the village of Hirbat Safa where clashes erupted and an additional Palestinian was lightly injured from rock throwing.

No hikers were reported injured.

IDF and police forces arrived to the scene and began investigating the incident. The IDF said that the hike was not coordinated in advance with the military.



The group of hikers was investigated and questioned by authorities.

Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer reacted to the incident and called on police to gather settlers' weapons.

"The police must collect the majority of the firearms possessed by settlers and act strictly against every citizen who is trigger-happy and kills Palestinians for no reason," Oppenheimer said.

Right-wing activist Baruch Marzel also offered his take on the events, saying that Jews are allowed to protect themselves.

"I call on the public not to be deterred and to continue to travel throughout Israel," Marzel said. "The Arabs need to take into account that the Jews are not suckers and are allowed to protect themselves against those who want who want to deprive them of life."

On Thursday, a Palestinian teen from the West Bank village of Iraq Burin was killed after he threatened a pedestrian with a rock, the Judea and Samaria Police said.

The police said that they did not know the identity of the pedestrian, but that they were exploring the possibility that he was Israeli, and maybe a settler.

The man was walking in the area of Iraq Burin when he was surrounded by a group of Palestinians who began throwing rocks at him, according to an initial police investigation.

One of the Palestinians, a teenager, then moved toward him with a rock in hand, police reported.

The man tried to force the Palestinian teenager to step back, the police said. When that failed the man took out a gun and shot at the teen.


Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.


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