Three young Jewish settlers are suspected of attacking undercover police officers who were posing as Palestinian shepherds. One officer was injured in the incident.
The volatile south Mount Hebron area has seen a number of clashes between settlers and Palestinians as of late. As part of the effort to apprehend some of the attackers, last week police officers disguised as Palestinian shepherds approached the Mount Sinai farm. According to the police, one of the suspects walked over to the undercover officers and told them they must leave the property immediately. When they did not comply, the suspect alerted his friends. The friends, who were masked and equipped with clubs, proceeded to attack the police officers. At some point the officers identified themselves and arrested the assailants, apart from one who managed to escape.
According to police, the suspects punched the officers and attacked them with clubs because they assumed they were Arabs approaching the farm they were staying in. The Mount Sinai farm is located in the south Mount Hebron area.
On Sunday the Jerusalem District Court extended the suspects' remand until Tuesday. An indictment is expected to be filed in the coming days. A fourth suspect is still at large.
During Sunday's court hearing the police representative said the officers did not provoke the suspects, who claimed they mistook the officers for terrorists.
The suspects further claimed that before attacking the undercover officers they turned to the army and police and asked that they clear the "shepherds" from the property. When no one showed up, the suspects claimed, they were forced to take matters into their own hands.
Judge Dov Pollock was not convinced and extended their remand, saying the suspects may be dangerous.
Honenu, an "Israeli Zionist" legal aid organization, which is handling the case on the suspects' behalf, said police are "continuing to treat the residents of the West Bank as though they are enemies and are employing against them means that are used against our worst enemies."