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Middle East
Israeli settlers attack mosque
Israeli's settling on land taken from Palestinians raid West Bank mosque.
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2009 16:25 GMT
The graffiti on the mosque bodes badly for settlers accepting a return to 1967 borders (AFP)

Israeli settlers in the occupied Palestinian West Bank have vandalised a mosque, torching its library and spraying hate messages in Hebrew on the building.

The attack blamed on hardline Jews on Friday may be linked to plans that seek to curb their illegal settlement activity on land taken from Palestinians.

Clashes erupted as villagers hurled stones at Israeli troops sent to investigate the incident at the mosque in the northern West Bank's Yasuf village. The security forces responded with teargas.

One of the Hebrew language slogans sprayed on a wall read: "Get ready to pay the price." Another read: "We will burn you all."

Village councillors and Palestinian security officials blamed Israelis from a nearby settlement for the attack.

Settler anger

The area is home to some of the most hardline settlers who advocate a "price tag" policy under which they target Palestinians in retaliation for any Israeli government measure they see as threatening Jewish settlements.

The Israeli military said "it appears that the suspects wrote hate-filled messages in Hebrew in addition to burning bookshelves and a carpet."

It assured the Palestinian Authority that it "views the incident gravely" and that security forces are working to locate the perpetrators, the statement said.

Last week, a house and three vehicles were set on fire in another village, also near the West Bank city of Nablus. The owner of the house told police he saw three Jewish settlers start the fires.

Settlers have expressed outrage over the government's decision to impose a 10-month moratorium on new building permits for Israeli homes in the occupied West Bank, outside annexed Arab east Jerusalem.

Many settlers consider they have a God-given right to live in the biblical Land of Israel, which includes the West Bank.

Source:
Agencies
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