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Settlers hold up Palestinian driver at gunpoint

12:00 Jan 30 2012 Umm al-Khair ((Umm al Khayr, al-Kher)

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HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli settlers threatened a Palestinian man at gunpoint in south Hebron on Monday, he told Ma'an.

Mohammad Al-Hathalin, from Um al-Kher, said he was returning from Hebron when two Israelis from neighboring Karmel settlement stopped his car and forced their way in. They demanded at gunpoint he drive them to the area of Khashem al-Daraj.

"I thought they were Special Forces... I was scared and I asked them to step out of the car, but they refused to do so. I was able to escape out of the car and that’s when they got out of the car and left," Al-Hathalin told Ma'an.

The head of Um al-Kher local council Ibrahim Al-Hathalin condemned the incident, saying it was the first attempt by settlers to kidnap a Palestinian civilian.

He called on the Israeli government to put an end to Israeli settlers' attacks against Palestinian civilians.

On Dec. 5, Israeli settlers kidnapped a 60-year-old shepherd south of Nablus, and stole all 50 of his sheep, local officials said.

ome 500,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. There are about 2.5 million Palestinians in the same territory.

All settlements are considered illegal under international law.
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