- - Tuesday, December 13, 2011

ISRAEL

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.

BAHRAIN

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.

Bahrain’s Sunni monarchy previously has accused Iran of involvement in widespread protests this year led by Bahrain’s Shiite majority. Syria is a longtime ally of Iran.

TUNISIA

Opposition veteran sworn in as president

TUNIS — Tunisia’s opposition leader Moncef Marzouki on Tuesday was sworn in as the country’s first elected president since the North African nation’s revolution sparked the Arab Spring.

“I will be the guarantor of the national interests, the state of laws and institutions,” Mr. Marzouki said with his hand on the Koran as he took his oath before the constituent assembly that elected him president on Monday.

“I will be faithful to the martyrs and to the objectives of the revolution,” he said, almost a year after the start of the mass protests that ousted strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and sparked popular revolts that also toppled dictators in Egypt and Libya.

SAUDI ARABIA

Saudi Arabia offers to help meet Yemeni oil needs

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia’s official news agency says the kingdom will supply conflict-ridden Yemen with urgently needed goods, including oil.

The Saudi Press Agency reported Tuesday that Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal talked by telephone late Monday to new Yemeni Prime Minister Mohammed Basindwa to inform him of the kingdom’s decision.

Yemen’s economy has been hit hard by 10 months of political turmoil.

The report did not say how much oil Saudi Arabia will give to the Arabian peninsula’s poorest nation or what other products might be needed.

From wire dispatches and staff reports