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IDF vehicle pelted with rocks at entrance to Yitzhar settlement

No injuries in the attack, the latest in a series of clashes between hard-line settlers in the area and security forces

Illustrative: A military jeep is damaged in riots by settlers near the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar on October 20, 2019. (Courtesy)
Illustrative: A military jeep is damaged in riots by settlers near the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar on October 20, 2019. (Courtesy)

A Border Police armored vehicle was pelted with rocks at the entrance to the Yitzhar settlement in the northern West Bank late Saturday night, the latest in a series of clashes between hard-line settlers in the area and IDF security forces.

There were no injuries in the attack, a statement from the Border Police said, adding that forces had initiated a search of the area for the suspects.

Last week the IDF extended an order sealing off the Kumi Ori outpost of Yitzhar to non-residents. Within days there were two apparent hate crime attacks on Palestinian villages in the area of Yitzhar. Dozens of vehicles had windows smashed or tires slashed and the suspects graffitied Hebrew slogans referencing the outpost.

A recent increase in violence has placed Yitzhar and the surrounding outposts in the center of a media storm.

Residents say tensions between them and security forces began to rise last month when the head of Central Command signed off on an administrative order barring a Kumi Ori resident from the West Bank. A defense official said the 21-year-old man has been involved in violence against soldiers and Palestinians. He denies the claim.

After Yitzhar’s leadership subsequently cut off ties with the IDF’s top brass, security forces arrested two residents of Kumi Ori — one for setting a Palestinian field on fire and another for threatening an army brigade commander. One of the suspects claimed to have been assaulted by the arresting officer.

Last week security forces reported coming under attack while patrolling the area. One officer was lightly injured in an incident that involved 30 young far-right activists known as hilltop youth, who hurled stones at the soldiers and slashed the tires of their jeep.

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