How much force is necessary to arrest a 15-year-old boy? Border Guard officers arrived at the Havat Gilad outpost Thursday after a nearby Palestinian field was set on fire, most likely by settlers.
The troops entered a local yeshiva and arrested a teenager for his suspected involvement in the fire and for throwing stones at soldiers. The settlers accused the officers of using excessive force after they choked, hit and pepper-sprayedthe boy's face.
At first, Judea and Samaria Border Guard forces denied that an arrest was made, but after requests from Ynet for a response to the pictures and video from the scene, they said the forces were called to Havat Gilad after stone throwing incidents.
"Violent clashes ensued. Officers were forced to use pepper spray on one teenager, who was detained and arrested for violent behavior," the Border Guard said.
Officials added that "the situation has now calmed down after the teenager managed to escape with some help from his friends. Border guard officers remain at the scene in order to prevent further clashes between the settlers and security forces".
Havat Gilad Spokesman Yehuda Shimon expressed his disapproval of the way the arrest was carried out. "A dozen Border Guard officers arrived at the yeshiva with no warrant, approached the 15-year-old and asked him to accompany them. He asked them why and then one of the officers choked him and sprayed him in the face with pepper spray".
The Samaria Settlers' Committee has said that representatives intend to file a complaint with the police internal affairs unit over the arrest.
"There were no incidents of stone throwing or violence carried out by any residents. This is a case of blatant police brutality - the pictures and video footage from the yeshiva speak for themselves", the committee said.
Settler sources confirmed that the field in question was most likely set on fire by the settlers, but expressed surprise over the move and said that: "There are no olive trees in the area, only trimmings which were set on fire 500 meters away from Havat Gilad; it's unclear what the arsonists were trying to achieve."
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