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5 arrested on suspicion of assaulting police demolishing West Bank outpost

Pair of settlers attach themselves to building at Oz Zion; cops also report clashes at Homesh after illegal building materials confiscated

A photo released by police on January 10, 2021, shows damage to a security vehicle that was allegedly caused by settlers during clashes with police at the illegal Homesh outpost in the northern West Bank. (Israel Police)
A photo released by police on January 10, 2021, shows damage to a security vehicle that was allegedly caused by settlers during clashes with police at the illegal Homesh outpost in the northern West Bank. (Israel Police)

Police on Monday arrested five people on suspicion of assaulting officers during clashes at a wildcat outpost in the West Bank.

The melee, which left two border guards lightly hurt, occurred as Israeli forces demolished a number of illegal structures at Oz Zion, north of Jerusalem. The two received medical care at the scene, according to a police statement.

Police said two settlers barricaded themselves inside one of the buildings, using an unspecified metal device and concrete to attach themselves to the structure. Border Police officers and rescuers from the military’s Home Front Command extracted the pair, from what was described as a “life-threatening” situation, after several hours.

The statement also said a number of olive trees were set alight around Oz Zion during the demolition, sparking a blaze that was extinguished by firefighters called to the area.

According to settlers, two families and several youths lived in Oz Zion. The outpost has previously been evacuated several times, but has repeatedly been repopulated.

Separately, police said settlers blocked a security vehicle taking part in operation to confiscate building materials at Homesh, an illegal outpost in the northern West Bank.

According to police, the settlers caused damage to the vehicle and climbed underneath it, grabbing the wheels to keep troops from driving off in it. They also allegedly blocked the road to Homesh using rocks and a car.

Police said six officers were lightly hurt as they cleared the settlers and were treated on site.

No arrests were announced.

Illustrative: Border Police officers prepare to raze illegal buildings at the wildcat Homesh outpost, on December 24, 2021. (Courtesy: Border Police)

The area around Homesh has become a flashpoint for violence in recent weeks, after Palestinian terrorists last month opened fire on a group of Israeli yeshiva students driving home after a day’s study, killing 25-year-old Yehudah Dimantman.

Dimantman was a student at a yeshiva, or religious school, that the Israel Defense Forces has allowed to operate illegally for over 15 years at Homesh, which had been evacuated as part of the 2005 unilateral disengagement from Gaza and four northern West Bank settlements.

Israeli security forces have since twice arrived at the outpost to take down a number of makeshift buildings that went up illegally since the attack. However, they’ve allowed the yeshiva to remain standing.

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