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A soldier on leave was seriously injured Friday after she was struck in the head by a large rock in a northern Arab village. The incident occurred late Friday evening at the entrance to the village of Deir el-Assad.

The injured soldier, a 20-year-old from Carmiel who was on leave from the army, had apparently entered the nearby village with her boyfriend and another couple looking for a bakery.

The boyfriend later said two young men in a car, who he believed to be under the influence of alcohol, began teasing the woman which led to an argument.

The owner of a convenience store near where the altercation broke out tried to intervene.

The two local residents drove away and the soldier and her companions proceeded to a bakery. On their way out of Deir el-Assad, they again encountered the two young men driving around.

According to Carmiel Police Chief Rami Neimark, testimony from the victim's boyfriend and other evidence from the investigation indicates that one of the two young men threw a large rock through an open window of the car in which the victim was sitting, hitting her in the head.

Police do not suspect nationalist motive

The woman was taken to Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya, where doctors determined that her skull had been fractured. She was then transferred to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa. A hospital source said the victim was in serious but stable condition.

Police arrested the owner of the car in which the alleged assailant and his companion had been traveling, on suspicion that the owner was driving the car at the time of the incident and was involved in the assault.

Police say there is no evidence indicating the assault was motivated by anything other than hooliganism.

The head of the Deir el-Assad local council condemned the attack and underscored the good relations between residents of the village and residents of Carmiel.