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Group: Soldiers beat Hebron man en route to mosque

Nov. 27, 2009 2:08 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 29, 2009 8:16 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - Christian Peacemaker Teams observers responded to a call from vendors in the Old City of Hebron on Thursday, saying a Palestinian man was being beaten by Israeli forces.

When the observers arrived, a statement said, "six soldiers were detaining a young man who appeared to be in distress. He was holding his abdomen and crying. His mother and a man held him while an older man spoke with the soldiers."

The observers said they conducted interviews with four eyewitnesses to the event, including two Palestinians and two internationals.

The reports, according to the observers, corroborated the vendors' story that the "young man was stopped and asked for his identity card. A soldier pushed him against the wall. When the youth asked, 'Why do you push me?' the soldier beat him. He was struck on the head [and] stomach with a rifle butt and kicked in the groin. His mother intervened as did an older shopkeeper."

The observers' testimony following the beating said: "With the mother and a man supporting the youth, the soldiers escorted him to just inside the gate of the Beit Romano settlement at Bab Ab-Balidiyah, where he collapsed. The mother hung on to her son and refused to have him taken through the gate to the army barracks.

"The soldiers kept pushing back the crowd of about 100 Palestinians during a loud and animated exchange between the soldiers, the mother and several men. After about 10 minutes the soldiers withdrew into the base and observed the crowd from a guard post. The crowd surged forward and carried the youth across the street but then returned to the concrete block at the Beit Romano gate.

"The soldiers fired a sound grenade that temporarily dispersed the crowd, but which quickly reformed. A Palestinian ambulance arrived five minutes later and evacuated the young man to the hospital. His condition is not known at this time."
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