Israel shuts office of settler extremists

About 200 Israeli police officers have closed the offices of an anti-Arab group in a West Bank Jewish settlement known for its extremist activity.

    A Palestinian with her olive trees destroyed by Israeli settlers

    Israel's occupation army on Sunday ordered the offices of the Jewish Battalion, at the settlement of Tapuah in the northern West Bank, closed due to suspicions of extremist activity.

    Shlomi Sagi, a police spokesman, said the offices included three buildings, a kennel where dogs were trained to attack Palestinians, a religious seminary and a dining hall.

    The group is connected to the outlawed, anti-Arab Kach movement, Sagi said.

    An Israeli army deserter who shot and killed four Arabs on a bus last summer had fled to Tapuah shortly before the rampage. The soldier was beaten to death by a mob after the shooting.

    The closure came on the same day Ehud Olmert, Israel's acting prime minister, said the government would crack down on settlers suspected of cutting down 2400 olive trees on Palestinian land in the northern West Bank in recent months.



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