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Israeli settler runs over 4 Palestinians in Qalqiliya

April 22, 2015 11:46 A.M. (Updated: April 23, 2015 10:22 A.M.)
QALQILIYA (Ma'an) -- An Israeli settler ran over four Palestinians from the al-Nabi Elias town in eastern Qalqiliya late Tuesday.

Mhanna Fathi Khleif, 38, and his brother Muhannad, 35, had been walking with their wives alongside the town's main road late Tuesday when the vehicle hit them.

Muhannad Khleif said that the settler ran them over "deliberately" despite walking to the far right side of the street.

The four were injured and taken to the Darwish Nazzal Hospital for treatment. Medical sources told Ma'an they received medium injuries including heavy bruising.

The Palestinian liaison reportedly contacted the Israeli authorities to follow-up on the incident.

The suspect, a resident of the Jewish-only settlement of Ginot Shomron, called the police confessing he was the driver of the car and had been to scared to stop his vehicle outside of the Palestinian village after hitting the pedestrians, Israeli media reported.

Police told Israeli news sources that Tuesday's incident would be treated as a hit-and-run offense.

Over 90 percent of investigations by Israeli police into offenses committed by settlers in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem fail to lead to an indictment, according to the UN figures.

Israeli officials have voiced the necessity to rectify the unequal implementation of the law onto settlers over the last year.

Following price-tag attacks on Vatican-owned offices in occupied East Jerusalem in May 2014, Israeli Internal Security Minister Yitzhak

Aharonovitch said the government planned to begin using administrative detention against suspected extremists.

Price tag attacks are routinely committed by Israeli settlers in retribution for perceived action by the Israeli government or other political actors against settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Although police had made scores of arrests at the time of Aharonovitch's statement, there had been few successful prosecutions for price-tag attacks and the government was facing mounting pressure to authorize the Shin Bet internal security agency to step in.

The first conviction for a price-tag attack was carried out in December 2014, two settlers were sentenced to 30 years in prison for setting fire to two Palestinian vehicles.

The US State Department's 2013 Country Reports on Terrorism included price-tag attacks for the first time, citing UN figures of some "399 attacks by extremist Israeli settlers that resulted in Palestinian injuries or property damage."

Such attacks were "largely unprosecuted," it said.

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