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Ahmed Abu Baqar shows battered arm after incident
Photo: Zacharia Seeda
'Soldiers came out of nowhere and abused us'
Two Palestinian youths claim group of soldiers from Havat Ma'on beat them; residents of nearby village say incident only last in series of grave abuse campaign being waged against them. IDF confirms complaint filed, says allegations being investigated

Two Palestinian youths said on Tuesday that soldiers guarding a settlement near Qalqiliya have been abusing the residents of a nearby village.

 

According to the youths, a group of IDF soldiers approached the youths in a military vehicle as they were walking through their village.

 

One of the youths, 15-year-old Ahmed Abu Baqar, told Ynet that after the vehicle reached them "some of the soldiers got out of the jeep, one of them with a mask on his face, and then they started hitting is.

 

"They focused on me first, slapped me a couple of times and then punching me. They took me into the jeep for a few seconds and then threw me out."

 

At this point said Ahmed, the soldiers turned their attention to his 20-year-old friend: "I took advantage of this and started to flee but after about 70 feet the masked soldier caught me and started kicking me in the face after I fell. Then he pushed me into a six-foot deep hole"


 

The hole the youths say they were thrown into (photo: Zacharia Seeda)

 

The incident occurred near the home of Zacharia Seeda, a human rights activist and member of Rabbis for Human Rights. Seeda managed to photograph one of the soldiers and jot down the license plate number of the military vehicle.

 

Seeda said he also witnessed a previous similar incident earlier this week – which was denied by the IDF.

 

According to Seeda after the soldiers beat the youths they began pouring paint on a group of children playing nearby.

 

Seeda and the village residents said that the soldiers, guards from the nearby outpost of Havat Ma'on, have recently taken to abusing residents from the village. One of the villagers said that several days ago they beat several people, detonated a canister of tear gas and then left the premises.

 

Seeda said he had filed a complaint with the Qalqiliya-Kdumim District Coordination and Liason Office (DCO) regarding the soldier's behavior and the two youths said they too were considering pressing charges.

 

"This time there is a photograph of one of the soldiers and there is a license plate number. I hope that everything is done to put an end to these repeated instances of abuse against the residents," said Seeda, adding that the residents suspect that one of the men accompanying the soldiers is a settler from Havat Ma'on.

 

Military officials confirmed that a complaint had been filed at the Qalqiliya DCO against the soldiers and said that the allegations were being investigated.

 

Efrat Weiss contributed to this report

 

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