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Army ambulance called to Yitzhar stoned by settlers

IDF says this incident, and attempt to slash tires previous day, ‘cross a red line’; settlement also condemns attack

An army ambulance damaged by settlers in Yitzhar, June 17, 2017. (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
An army ambulance damaged by settlers in Yitzhar, June 17, 2017. (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

An army ambulance called to the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar was stoned by area residents Saturday night, in an incident the military said crossed a “red line.”

The attack was the second anti-army incident at the hardline settlement south of Nablus in as many days, after residents laid spikes in a road leading to the settlement to stop military vehicles on Friday, a spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces said.

On Saturday night, an army ambulance was summoned to Yitzhar to treat a woman complaining of dehydration. As it left the settlement, area residents stoned the vehicle, damaging its windshield, the army said.

There were no injuries reported.

The army said in a statement it would not be deterred from operating in the area, though no arrests were reported.

“The IDF views these incidents as crossing a red line and emphasizes the severity of an attack of any type on security forces carrying out their duties and protecting area residents,” the army said in a statement.

A spokesperson for the settlement called the stoning “terrible” and said Yitzhar was “totally opposed to it.”

FILE: A masked Jewish settler swings a slingshot as he stands near the West Bank Jewish settlement of Yitzhar, on May 19, 2013. (Mendy Hechtman/Flash90)
FILE: A masked Jewish settler swings a slingshot as he stands near the West Bank Jewish settlement of Yitzhar, on May 19, 2013. (Mendy Hechtman/Flash90)

Tensions between security forces and locals have ramped up in recent weeks over IDF orders banning extreme right-wing activists from the West Bank, according to the Ynet news website.

Yitzhar is seen as a center of the extreme right-wing Hilltop Youth, and residents there have a history of confrontations with the army and police.

In 2014, days of violent confrontations between residents of the settlement and security forces culminated in residents raiding an IDF command post near the settlement, hurling stones, burning tires, threatening soldiers and attempting to tear the structure down.

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