Holy Land: volunteers escorting children attacked

 Unidentified assailants attacked two Christian volunteers who were escorting Palestinian children to school last Wednesday morning, near the settlement of Maon in the Hebron Hills area of the West Bank. The assailants beat the American volunteers and robbed them. The two were evacuated by Israeli ambulance to Soroka Medical Centre in Be'er Sheva. The attackers, numbering four or five, were dressed in black and wore masks. They spoke English and were carrying chains and clubs. They did not attack the schoolchildren, who quickly fled the scene, but stole a bag belonging to female volunteer Kim Lamberty, 44, and broke her arm. The bag contained her passport, money and mobile phone. The assailants beat the second volunteer, Chris Brown, 39, with chains. He suffered a punctured lung and external bleeding. Both volunteers are affiliated with the Christian Peacemakers Teams, which escorts Palestinian schoolchildren living with their families in caves in the village of Tuba to their primary school in the village of Al-Tuwani, an approximately half-hour walk. The road along which the volunteers and schoolchildren pass is used by settlers and is forbidden to Palestinian vehicular traffic. Palestinian pedestrians, however, are permitted to use the road. However, the schoolchildren are afraid to pass unescorted through the area because of what they describe as harassment by area Jewish settlers. Asked about the attack Josh Hasten, a spokesman for the settlers' Yesha Council, said: "We know nothing of this specific incident but are opposed to any violation of the law." Caritas Jerusalem said in a statement it calls upon all parties to reject all violent actions and conduct themselves with peaceful intentions in all circumstances. Violence in all forms must be rejected and jettisoned once and for all by all parties working for peace in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Source: Caritas Jerusalem

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