Israeli settlers attack village in occupied West Bank

Attack on Burqa village came after earlier rally turned violent, with Israeli soldiers using tear gas against Palestinians.

Protesters with Palestinian flag confront Israeli soldiiers near Homesh
Confrontations broke out after settlers marched near the Homesh illegal outpost [Raneen Sawafta/Reuters]

Israeli settlers have attacked the northern village of Burqa in the occupied West Bank, according to Palestinian authorities.

The attack under the cover of night came after a settler rally earlier on Thursday had turned violent, with Israeli forces using tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets against Palestinians.

Dozens of Palestinians were wounded, medics said.

Reporting from West Jerusalem, Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett said the events were “extremely serious” and further raised tensions in the area.

“The village of Burqa has been exceptionally tense in recent days. The municipal government of Nablus, the biggest town nearby, said hundreds of Israeli settlers attacked the village … and dozens were trying to get into individual homes,” Fawcett said.

He added that there were clashes between Israeli soldiers and villagers during the course of the day.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) told Wafa news agency that 42 Palestinians, including a journalist, were wounded after being hit with rubber-coated steel rounds, while another 83 sustained suffocation from inhalation of tear gas fired by the Israeli army.

PRCS added that a girl was treated for shock after a group of Israeli settlers attacked her family’s home on the outskirts of the village.

Two ambulances were also hit by Israeli soldiers with stun grenades and tear gas canisters.

The attacks came after an estimated 15,000 settlers gathered near the illegal Homesh outpost, northwest of Nablus, to commemorate a settler killed last week.

Entrances to Burqa had been shut down with earth mounds by the Israeli forces to allow settlers to access Homesh, a pre-2005 Israeli settlement that ultra-Orthodox settler groups are urging the Israeli government to allow them to inhabit.

Since the killing of settler Yehuda Dimentman by two Palestinian gunmen who opened fire on his car on December 16, attacks on Palestinian villages near the northern city of Nablus have multiplied.

Several Palestinian civilians in Qaryout, south of Nablus, sustained wounds and fractures in a pre-dawn attack by Israeli settlers on December 17, Wafa reported.

Settlers this week also attacked Palestinian homes in the village of Silat ad-Dhahr, the news agency said, blocking a section of the Nablus-Jenin road and denying access to Palestinian vehicles.

Israeli settlements are Jewish communities built on Palestinian land, in violation of international law. Today, between 600,000 and 750,000 Israeli settlers live in at least 250 illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Source: Al Jazeera