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Palestinians say 3 wounded by stone-throwing settlers near Homesh

3 Israelis arrested on suspicion of torching Palestinian car in northern West Bank, after area rocked by last week’s deadly terror shooting

Settlers from Homesh hurl stones at Palestinians on March 26, 2020. (Yesh Din)
Settlers from Homesh hurl stones at Palestinians on March 26, 2020. (Yesh Din)

Three Palestinians were wounded during a stone-throwing attack by Israeli settlers near the Homesh outpost in the northern West Bank on Sunday, a Palestinian official said.

According to Palestinian Authority official Ghassan Daghlas, who tracks settlement activity, the Palestinians were driving their cars near the entrance to Burqa, a local Palestinian town, when they were attacked.

One of the Palestinians — a man in his fifties —  was struck by a rock in his head, the Palestinian Authority Health Ministry said. He was evacuated to a Jenin hospital in stable condition.

The Israeli police said they were checking reports of the incident.

Tensions in the northern West Bank have risen substantially over the past few days. A terror attack by Palestinian gunmen near the illegal outpost of Homesh last Thursday left an Israeli man dead and two others wounded. Palestinians have since reported revenge attacks by Israeli extremists in nearby villages, including one attack that hospitalized a Palestinian man with severe head injuries.

Israeli police announced on Sunday that officers had arrested three Israelis suspected of setting a Palestinian car on fire  near Nablus, the Israel Police, amid a wave of terror attacks and retaliatory attacks by suspected extremist settlers.

The adult and two minors were questioned Sunday and were set to be brought for a remand hearing at the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court.

Police said in a statement that Israeli forces had noticed several people close to the car after it went up in flames at a junction near the Har Bracha settlement. Israeli soldiers detained the three suspects until police arrived and arrested them, police said.

Much of the recent violence has centered around Homesh, an Israeli outpost meant to have been abandoned when Israel withdrew from Gaza and four northern West Bank settlements in 2005. But for the past 15 years, settlers have operated an illegal yeshiva at the site, in direct violation of Israeli law and a military order.

The area has seen repeated clashes between the Israeli settlers — most of whom study at the hilltop’s yeshiva, or religious school — local Palestinians, and the army.

On Thursday night, Palestinian terrorists attacked a car carrying Jewish yeshiva students away from Homesh to another local settlement. The attack took the life of Yehuda Dimentman, 25, the father of a 9-month-old baby.

Six suspects, all members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, were arrested by Israeli security forces early Sunday morning in connection with the attack.

In the hours after the deadly shooting, extremist Israeli settlers assaulted Palestinians and vandalized property in a West Bank village near Nablus, according to Palestinian media reports.

Dozens of cars were allegedly damaged in Qaryut, south of Nablus, and three people were wounded. Assailants broke into the home of one family, smashed furniture and beat one of its inhabitants, Wael Moqbel.

Extremist settlers have a track record of committing revenge “price tag” attacks against Palestinians. The Israeli perpetrators claim such attacks are retaliation for Palestinian violence or government policies they deem hostile to the settler movement.

Recent days saw a national discussion over violence by Jewish extremists in the West Bank, after Public Security Minister Omer Barlev announced that he had discussed the issue with a visiting American diplomat earlier this week. The coalition’s right-wing flank quickly moved to denounce Barlev and defend the settler movement.

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