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Monday 5 December 2016

Israeli forces evict Jewish settlers from West Bank buildings

Published 22/01/2016 | 10:36

Israeli security forces stand guard as Jewish settlers are forced out of two homes in Hebron (AP)
Israeli security forces stand guard as Jewish settlers are forced out of two homes in Hebron (AP)

Israeli forces have evicted dozens of Jewish settlers a day after they moved into two buildings in the heart of the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron.

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The troops removed 80 people who had moved into the buildings and closed access to the sites, near an important shrine holy to both Jews and Muslims, said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

Supporters of the group said the settlers had entered houses that were bought legally.

Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan in the 1967 war, but Palestinians demand the territory as part of their future state. Most of the international community views Israeli settlements in the territory as illegal.

Israel says the fate of the settlements should be resolved in peace talks, along with other core issues like security and borders.

About 850 Israeli settlers live in heavily guarded enclaves in Hebron, surrounded by tens of thousands of Palestinians.

Much of the animosity in the city is over a sensitive holy site known to Jews as the Tomb of the Patriarchs and to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque. Many Palestinian attackers over the past four months of bloodshed have been from Hebron.

The buildings will remain shut until the courts determine who owns them, Mr Rosenfeld said.

Selling property to Israelis is considered taboo in Palestinian society and is against Palestinian law. Palestinians who do sell fear for their lives and usually flee the territory.

The eviction came as Israel struggles to deal with months of near-daily Palestinian attacks on civilians and soldiers. Many attackers over the past four months of bloodshed have been from Hebron.

Palestinian attackers have killed 25 Israelis and wounded dozens more since mid-September in stabbings, shooting and car ramming assaults. Some 146 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire during that time, and more than 100 have been identified by Israel as attackers. The rest were killed in clashes with Israeli troops.

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