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Palestinian hospitalized after settler attack

March 18, 2011 12:35 P.M. (Updated: March 19, 2011 9:32 A.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- A group of settlers attacked a Palestinian from Huwwara village on Friday, as settler violence escalated in the northern West Bank.

Settlers threw stones at Talal Ad-Dmeidi, 35, and beat him with sticks at Yitzhar junction south of Nablus.

Ad-Dmeidi was taken by ambulance to Rafidia Hospital, medics from the Palestinian Red Crescent said.

A day earlier, masked settlers assaulted two Palestinian workers and an Israeli security guard with knives, pipes and pepper spray at Shilo settlement in Nablus.

A sharp rise in settler attacks has been reported across the West Bank since Israeli officials blamed Palestinians for the murder of five Israelis in Itamar settlement. Some settler groups have vowed to take revenge against Palestinians.

No suspects have been identified in the murder of five members of the Fogel family, as the investigation remains under gag order in Israel. Ma'an learned that at least 40 men from the neighboring village of Awarta were detained, and Thai workers were questioned.

Awarta was put under military curfew when Israeli police began an investigation into the murders, and the lockdown was not lifted until Wednesday. Residents say homes and village infrastructure sustained huge damage as Israeli forces interrogated residents.

On Thursday, settlers issued a call on the internet to visit three graves east of Awarta.

The announcement prompted village council head Qais Awwad to warn residents to stay out of the streets over loudspeakers at the local mosque.

Settlers from Itamar have erected an illegal outpost in honor of the Fogel family on lands privately owned by Awarta residents, and others in the nearby city of Nablus.

A spokesman from Israel's Civil Administration said the outpost would be dealt with "according to the procedures which we are committed to and practical priorities of implementation."

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