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.
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.”
About 300,000 Jewish settlers live in the West Bank among some 2.5 million Palestinians. An additional 200,000 live in East Jerusalem.
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