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Israeli forces shoot 3 Palestinian shepherds near Nablus

Jan. 3, 2015 3:25 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 4, 2015 4:29 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Three Palestinian shepherds were injured on Saturday after Israeli forces and private security guards at a Jewish settlement opened fire on a crowd near Nablus.

Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma'an that several Israeli settlers attacked a group of shepherds in the area of Khirbet Yanun near the village of Aqraba and opened live fire at them after the group entered the area.

Israeli soldiers later entered the area and opened fire as well, hitting three men.

The injured were identified as Falah Youssef Bani Jaber, hit in the hand, Ahmad Bani Jaber, also hit in the hand, and Judeh Bani Jaber, who was hit with a rubber-coated steel bullet in his stomach.

An Israeli military spokeswoman told Ma'an that the Palestinian shepherds gathered near the Gidonim outpost of the Itamar settlement north of Aqraba, claiming that their herds had been stolen.

Israeli residents of the settlement then called army forces, she said, and the local security guards and the army forces "fired in the air to disperse the riot."

She said that the herds were subsequently found and that they had not been "stolen," as the Palestinians had claimed. However, she refused to comment on whether the herds had been found inside the settlement or not.

She added that the military was looking into reports that Palestinians had been injured in the incident.

The villages south of Nablus are frequent sites of settler violence and Palestinian clashes with Israeli forces as they are located beside the notoriously violent Israeli settlements of Yitzhar, Bracha, and Itamar.

Settlers frequently attack a number of local villages and prevent farmers from reaching their lands, according to UNOCHA, in addition to attacks on local olive trees themselves.

Settler violence against Palestinians and their property in the occupied West Bank is systematic and ignored by Israeli authorities, who rarely intervene in the violent attacks or prosecute the perpetrators.

In 2014, there were at least 329 incidents of settler violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
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