U.S. Peace Activists Beaten in West Bank

Two American volunteers in a group helping Palestinians were beaten with baseball bats and chains by five men, including one who spoke English with an Israeli accent, one of the victims said Thursday.

The Americans, Chris Brown, 40, from San Francisco, and Kim Lamberty, 44, from Washington, were escorting Palestinian children to their school in a West Bank (search) village Wednesday when they were attacked, Brown said.

The two are members of the Christian Peacemakers Team (search), a group that has been active in and around the West Bank city of Hebron for several years.

Brown remained hospitalized in Israel on Thursday with a punctured lung. Lamberty was released after receiving treatment for a broken arm and swollen knee.

The identity of the assailants was not known, but Bourke Kennedy, another member of the group, said the volunteers have been harassed in the past by Jewish settlers on the same road, which runs near the Maon settlement (search).

"We've been spat at, hit, and almost run down on occasion," Kennedy said.

The group said it would file a complaint with the Israeli authorities. Israeli soldiers arrived at the scene 30 minutes after the attack. However, the army said police would have to handle to case. Police could not be reached for comment.

The attack took place early Wednesday when Brown and Lamberty were escorting several Palestinian children from their homes to a school in a nearby village. At about 7:15 a.m., five men with black scarves wrapped around their heads attacked the Americans, Brown said in a telephone interview.

"They whipped us with chains and beat us with a stick. Then they threw stones at me and continued punching me in the face, hitting and kicking me in the back," Brown said.

The children escaped unharmed, he said.