The couple and the robbery
Forty-one migrants attacked by a group of six armed Israeli settlers near the village of Al Muarajat near Jericho in the West Bank: including a boy from Reggio Emilia, Simone Ruffini, and his Veronese girlfriend Samera Ayyad, 29, a former High school student of Maffei di Verona and graduated in Middle East politics. Daughter of a doctor and holder of Italian and Israeli citizenship, residing in Ramallah in the West Bank, where she has been working for an NGO since June. While Ruffini escaped the attack unharmed, Ayyad suffered bruises on his arm and hand from various blows with a stick. Our walking group consisted of forty-one people in all – says Samera – four Americans, two Italians, five French, one Canadian, three Palestinian Israelis and the rest were Palestinians. Many of us were attacked, but only I and one other Palestinian woman were injured from the beatings.
The rush of tourists on the way
The attack took place around 4.30pm on Friday January 13, when the excursion was now over and the group were completing the final stretch of the route that would take them to the main road, where the bus was waiting to take them would she go back home. The trip, which began at 9 a.m., aimed to explore a mostly mountainous tourist route laid out by Israel’s Environment Ministry. We had now reached the valley when the settlers unprovokedly attacked us with sticks and pepper spray, Samera recalls, we were pushed back towards the mountains and essentially trapped. We were threatened with death, we didn’t have the equipment to climb to the top of the mountain, and night fell. We managed to get to an area where we were relatively safe and away from the settlers, but the only way out was to go back to where the settlers were and that would leave us again subject to an unmotivated violent attack would be .
Intervention of the army and the embassy: escorted to the bus
Faced with the increasingly dangerous situation, the group’s guide alerted the Palestinian police, who then put them in contact with the Israeli police: at this point, the American, Italian and French embassies were involved to request army intervention. After we informed the relevant diplomatic authorities about the situation, we were joined by Israeli soldiers who escorted us to the bus – says Samera – but it took several hours for the army to arrive. As soon as we returned to Ramallah, as I was injured, I was taken to the hospital for care and treatment, along with another woman who had suffered a physical attack and a woman in apparent shock. The attack was well documented and testimonies were reported to institutions. The Italian consulate general in Jerusalem announced that it had supported the two compatriots who had asked for the Israeli army’s intervention to be expedited to complete their trip safely, after reporting that they had been attacked by a group of settlers.
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January 16, 2023 (change January 16, 2023 | 07:49)
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