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One of the guides wounded in the incident
Settler who shot Palestinian suspected of causing death by negligence
After resorting to shooting one of the Palestinians assailing him and a group of children he was escorting on a West Bank trip, a settler is questioned by police and released before being told he is under investigation for causing death by negligence.

The settler who shot 47-year-old Palestinian Mahmoud Za’al Odeh in Thursday's incident near the village of Qusra has been questioned by police, and is suspected of causing death by negligence.

 

 

"Dozens of Palestinians threw stones and rocks at us, we were in a life-threatening situation, and we were trying to protect the children," said the man, whose son was among the group.

 

"I had to shoot in self-defense. I hope common sense prevails, and people understand what happened here," the father added.

Two of the adults in the group were lightly wounded in the clashes and the children were spirited away from the danger zone under IDF supervision.

 

One of the guides who was lightly wounded in the clashes
One of the guides who was lightly wounded in the clashes

 

According to one of the two fathers who accompanied the children on the trip, the group of children from different communities in the Samaria region was on a bar mitzvah trip.

 

"We were hiking in an open area, near the road. Some 200 meters from Highway 5 and the Alon road, we were attacked by dozens of Arabs with stones, rocks and clubs. We were busy protecting the children, and I got hit in the head with a stone. The second father was also wounded. Thank God, the children are safe and sound, that's what's important."

 

The second father who accompanied the trip said he took the children into a nearby cave to protect them from the barrage of stones.

 

The children, he said, "were determined and brave, but some of them were frightened."

 

"I was busy protecting them, when at some point the Palestinians came really close, outflanked us and really boxed us in. The second father left his gun with me. I tried to keep them away by shooting into the air, and it didn't help, they kept coming closer."

 

IDF at the scene of the incident   (Video: Shomron Regional Council, TPS)

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He noted there were two Palestinians who tried to protect him and the children, but "30 others just tried to lynch (us)."

 

One of the parents accompanying the children had his gun stolen by one of the Palestinian rioters, but was later recovered by the IDF.

 

One of the children who came under attack told Ynet the Palestinians "started threatening us with a gun, throwing stones at us, told us 'give us your bags, give us your phones.' They swore at us, slapped us, punched us. I got a stone to my knee, my rabbi got a stone to his head, my friends got slapped and punched. They (the Palestinians) also tried to use tear gas."

 

"There were also Arabs who chased away the Arabs who wanted to throw stones at us, protected us for a little until the army came and found us," the child added.

 

Keren Perlman, the mother of one of the children, said her son told her the Palestinians "sprayed pepper spray into the cave" the children were hiding in. "They took their bags, equipment and candy," she added.

 

Settlers with child assaulted in the incident, after the evacuation (Photo: EPA)
Settlers with child assaulted in the incident, after the evacuation (Photo: EPA)

 

"He also told me many children made vows, about the feeling of imminent death, about (children) saying the 'Shema Yisrael' prayer, and about heart-rending crying," Perlman added.

 

She criticized the IDF for taking too long to arrive to the children's aid. "It took the army an hour and a half. An hour and a half in which the children hid in a crumbling cave with hundreds of Arabs above them. An hour and a half of the heroic parents standing at the entrance, enduring beatings and stones to protect the children, and the army just didn't bother showing up," she lamented.

 

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