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Farmer: Settlers burned my sheep alive

Dec. 18, 2010 3:48 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 19, 2010 6:43 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma’an) -- A farmer said he watched a group of settlers in the northern West Bank gather his sheep and set them on fire Saturday afternoon.

When he returned to the area, he told officials, he found 12 sheep burned alive, five with severe burns and two others that were only lightly burned. "I've lost at least $12,000," he said, calling the act abominable.

Mayor of Aqraba, the village near where the attack took place, Jawdat Bani Jabir, identified the farmer as 40-year-old Samir Muhammad Bani Fadl.

Fadil said he was out pasturing his sheep in the eastern part of the village when a group of armed settlers approached him in a white car and asked him to come and speak with them. Feeling threatened, in an area where rights organizations recorded a ballooning number of settler attacks and vandalism during the month of October, Fadil fled and watched the group from an adjacent hill.

According to the farmer's testimony, the settlers gathered all the sheep into an area thick with brush, and set fire to the bushes.

Mayor Jabir called the attack vicious, and blamed the residents of the settlements encircling the area: Maale Efraym, Itamar, and Hetzit.

"Fadil has nine daughters who depend on him and he has sustained a deep loss today," the mayor said, calling for an inquiry into the incident.

Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official in charge of following up with settlement activities in the northern West Bank, condemned the attack demanding pressure on Israel by the international community to quell settler violence.

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