Israel soldiers beat five unarmed Palestinian traffic police in the West Bank city of Hebron on Tuesday, throwing them to the ground and hitting one with a rifle butt.

The group of 12 armed soldiers then shackled the policemen and hauled them away in an army jeep.

Dozens of angry young Palestinians hurled stones and empty bottles at departing army jeeps. Soldiers fired tear gas and stunt grenades into the crowd; at least three people were treated for tear gas inhalation.  

According to AP, soldiers approached the policemen and ordered them to leave the area. When policemen refused to go, the soldiers began beating them, dragging one policemen on the ground while kicking him, and hitting another on the head with the butt of an M-16 rifle.

One Palestinian policeman was seen with a swollen red eye and another with blood dripping from his mouth.

When asked why soldiers assaulted the policemen, an Israeli military official said: ‘if they don’t want to come with us nicely, then we will take them not so nicely.’

Hebron’s Palestinian police chief, Awni Samara, said the policemen were in the Palestinian-controlled area of city and were not violating any agreements with Israel.

‘We are here to serve our people, and what the Israeli army did today is an indication that they do not want peace or stability in the area,’ said Samara.