Israelis Accused of Attacking Palestinian Shepherd, Killing Sheep Then Attacking Village

A group of dozens of Israeli settlers was accused of attacking a Palestinian shepherd in West Bank and killing four of his sheep, before storming the village of Mufaqara, a local Palestinian activist said Wednesday.

Sami Hureini said that the settlers wielded clubs and stones, which they threw at cars and homes during the attack on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.

Several of Mufaqara's residents were wounded during the incident, including one four-year-old boy, Mohammed Bakr, who Hureini said was hospitalized after sustaining a head injury. An Israeli rights group released footage of the attack, showing several of the settlers with scarves wrapped around their faces and shirtless.

The attackers hurled stones and houses and vehicles. Some Israeli troops were seen in the video standing among them but did not seem to be attempting to stop the attack. The Israeli military did not provide any comments on the incident, saying that it was still working to learn about what had happened in the village.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Israel-Palestine Clashes
In the most recent act of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, a group of Israeli settlers on Tuesday attacked a Palestinian shepherd before storming the nearby village of Mufaqara in West Bank. Above, Palestinians gather at the site where three Palestinian where killed during clashes with Israeli forces in the village of Beit Anan, in northwest Jerusalem on September 26, 2021. Abbas Momani/AFP via Getty Images

The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem released video of the attack and provided a similar account. It said Israeli troops fired tear gas at Palestinian residents and arrested at least one Palestinian. An Israeli soldier can be seen throwing a tear gas grenade at the Palestinian who filmed the attack and then shoving him.

Nearly 500,000 Jewish settlers live in the occupied West Bank, which Israel seized in the 1967 war. The territory is home to more than 2.5 million Palestinians, and the Palestinians want it to form the main part of their future state.

In addition to more than 120 authorized settlements, more radical settlers have established dozens of outposts in rural parts of the West Bank. Israeli authorities are reluctant to dismantle them because doing so usually ignites clashes between the settlers and security forces. The Palestinians and the international community consider all settlements to be illegal and an obstacle to peace.

B'Tselem said the settlers who took part in the attack came from two nearby outposts, Avigayil and Havat Maon. The area has seen a series of recent settler attacks. B'Tselem and other rights groups say Israeli forces often turn a blind eye to settler violence or side with the settlers in clashes with Palestinians.

"What Palestinians endured yesterday in the South Hebron Hills is is one of the biggest attacks in broad daylight by settlers on a Palestinian community," said Hagai El-Ad, the director of B'Tselem.

"But it needs to be understood that this is not just random settler violence. This is strategic. Israel aims to forcibly transfer Palestinians from large parts of the West Bank."

Activists Rally in NY for Palestine
A group of dozens of Israeli settlers was accused of attacking a Palestinian shepherd in West Bank, killing four of his sheep, and then storming the nearby village of Mufaqara on Tuesday. Above, thousands of activists supporting Palestine converge Saturday, May 15, 2021, in New York. Kevin Hagen/AP Photo