Hebron - Olivier Fitoussi - April 2012
Border Police removing Jewish settlers from a home near the Tomb of the Patriarchs. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi
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Hebron settlers say Border Police choked a nine-year-old boy from their community, but Border Police say it was the settlers who caused the boy's injury while trying to free him from police custody.

Settlers say the child had difficulty breathing and suffered back and chest pain afterward, which was borne out by the written opinion of a Kupat Holim health maintenance organization physician in Kiryat Arba.

The incident occurred about 7 A.M. Saturday after a group of Jewish children began playing in the lot between the recently evacuated "Machpela house" and a closed military zone nearby. Residents who say they saw the incident claim the boy entered the closed military zone and a Border Police officer choked him and held him in the air for about 10 minutes. The witnesses say residents praying at the nearby Tomb of the Patriarchs were able to release the child from the officer's hands.

However, Border Police said it was "unfortunate that the incident was presented in such a distorted way." They say 10 young boys broke into the closed military zone and began beating security forces. When police detained the boys' leader, a group of settlers began attacking the police. One settler grabbed the boy's neck and pulled him in an attempt to free him from police custody.

Two settlers were arrested on suspicion of attacking the officer. The following day, the child's parents lodged a complaint with the Justice Ministry's unit that investigates alleged police misconduct.