Three cars were torched and graffiti was spray-painted across the wall of a mosque early Thursday morning in the West Bank village of Burka, east of Ramallah.
Police suspected that the vandalism was a “price tag” attack carried out to protest the evacuation of a nearby illegal outpost, Geulat Zion, by security forces on Wednesday.
The term “price tag” is used by Jewish extremists to describe attacks carried against non-Jews or their property, ostensibly as retribution for Israeli government actions deemed contrary to settler interests.
The graffiti at the mosque in Burka mentioned the name of the demolished outpost and referred to Tomer Hazan, a 20-year-old soldier who in late September was allegedly murdered by a Palestinian acquaintance who lured him to a village near Qalqilya in the West Bank.
Following the removal of the Geulat Zion outpost on Wednesday, masked settlers set buildings on fire and attacked a school in the Palestinian village of Jaloud. Five vehicles parked near the school were reportedly also damaged. According to Palestinians, some 400 olive trees in the area were set ablaze as well.
Police later arrested four suspects who had been hurling stones at Israeli security forces near the Palestinian village.
The Geulat Zion outpost was home to five families. The IDF demolished all permanent structures at the site. One person was arrested during the evacuation for attempting to block army access to the outpost.
Meanwhile Wednesday, Jerusalem police released to house arrest a group of minors suspected of belonging to a gang that has been carrying out price tag attacks in the city.
The recent arrests of the teen boys, aged 13-18, was announced on Sunday after a gag order on the case was lifted. The suspects are students at several yeshivas and are suspected of committing the attacks while they were home during breaks from school.
According to police, the teens admitted to attacking Arab drivers, throwing stones at Egged buses after identifying that the driver and riders were Arabs, setting fire to cars in Sheikh Jarrah, slashing tires of cars belonging to Arabs, and throwing stones at Arab pedestrians.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon announced in July that planning and carrying out “price tag” attacks will be considered “illegal organizing,” giving law enforcement the same tools to fight them as they do Islamic terror groups.
Spencer Ho contributed to this report.