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Briefly: Middle East
West Bank settlers clash with Israeli troops
JERUSALEM — Dozens of Jewish settlers broke into an army base in the West Bank early Tuesday and lit fires, damaged vehicles and threw stones at a senior officer. Hours earlier, another group took over an abandoned building in a closed military zone on the border with Jordan.
The incidents are ominous signs of the growing audacity of Jewish extremists who increasingly have been venting their anger against the troops assigned to guard them.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the base attack and ordered security forces to “act aggressively against those harming Israeli soldiers and their commanders,” according to a statement from his office.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak called both incidents “homegrown terror” and said they “threaten to damage the delicate relations Israel has with its neighbors.”
In the base attack, about 50 settlers vandalized army vehicles with paint and nails and threw stones at the district commander, who was not seriously hurt, the military said in a statement. Troops dispersed the rioters and two people were in custody, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
The Israeli news site Ynet said the settlers were protesting the planned evacuations of unauthorized settlement outposts. In recent years, some Israeli settlers have vandalized military or Palestinian property to protest Israeli government action against settlements, a tactic they term “price tag.”
“We are on the verge of civil war,” parliamentary opposition leader Tzipi Livni warned in an interview with Israel Radio.
About 300,000 Jewish settlers live in the West Bank among some 2.5 million Palestinians. An additional 200,000 live in East Jerusalem.
Report: Bahraini king says Syria trains opposition
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Bahrain’s king is quoted by a British newspaper as saying some members of the opposition in Gulf kingdom are being trained by Syria.
King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa was quoted by Britain’s Telegraph newspaper Tuesday that he has notified Syrian authorities of the allegation, but they deny involvement.
The king’s interview coincided with his visit to London on Monday to meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron.
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