Palestinian shepherd says beaten by group of masked men in West Bank

Judea and Samaria police open investigation into incident; no arrests made as of Sunday afternoon.

A Palestinian shepherd 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
A Palestinian shepherd 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
Police are investigating a report that six masked men attacked a Palestinian shepherd on Sunday morning after he crossed with his sheep and goats under Highway 60 near the Psagot winery in the West Bank.
The shepherd, Najeh Thalajeh Abu-Ali, 47, is hospitalized in Ramallah, where he was treated for head injuries.
Judea and Samaria police said Sunday that the Binyamina precinct has opened an investigation into the incident, but that as of late afternoon no suspects had been arrested.
Abu-Ali was the first of 10 to 15 Palestinian shepherds from the village of Kfar Michmas to make their way through a narrow concrete drainage pipe under Route 60 with their herds at about 6 a.m., according to B’Tselem spokeswoman Sarit Michaeli.
“You can only walk through it one at a time. They do this every morning,” the spokeswoman said and added that on Sunday, Abu-Ali was the first to cross.
When he emerged, Michaeli said, six masked men with sticks, knives and metal pipes attacked him.
The assailants hit him in the face and head and fled very quickly, but not before stabbing a sheep and a goat, she said.
“His son was the first one after him,” Michaeli said.
He and other shepherds carried Abu-Ali onto Route 60 and flagged a car, whose driver took him to the hospital in Ramallah, Michaeli said. She added that one of their field workers interviewed the shepherds in the hospital.
B’Tselem distributed two photographs to the media, which showed the bloody cuts to Abu-Ali’s scalp.
It also provided the media with a short video clip in which Abu-Ali describes the attack in Arabic as he lay with a bandaged head on a hospital gurney.
“They were hiding. There were six of them. They were masked,” Abu-Ali said in the video. He added that he believed they were settlers.
“When I saw them, I started running. They beat me with iron pipes. One of them was armed,” he said.