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Settlers take over house in Hebron

March 29, 2012 2:34 P.M. (Updated: April 2, 2012 3:41 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Dozens of Israeli settlers took over a house in the center of the West Bank city of Hebron overnight Wednesday.

Witnesses said the group started moving their furniture in after breaking down the gates and celebrated by distributing sweets.

The settlers claim to have bought the home from its owner.

Local sources told Ma'an that the house, close to the Ibrahimi mosque, belongs to Abu Rajab and that his grandson -- who has the same name -- sold it to the settlers. Others disputed this and said the owner's grandson had sold it to another Palestinian, who sold it on to the settlers.

Hebron Rehabilitation Committee director Imad Hamdan told Ma'an the move was a violation against the people of Hebron.

"The settlers claim that they have bought the house. If this is so, why would they destroy its gates and enter it forcefully after midnight? They must go to Israeli courts to prove their claim," Hamdan said.

Hebron Mayor Kamel Hmaid warned the incident would inflame tensions in the city.

"What's happening is a provocation of the people of the old city of Hebron."

Around 800 Jewish settlers live in Hebron's Old City, among 30,000 Palestinians in the parts of the city that are under Israeli control.

The settlers, many of whom are armed, are guarded by Israeli soldiers stationed in the city who impose strict restrictions on Palestinians' movement.
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