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Settlers attack Burin village, fires spread

July 30, 2010 6:19 P.M. (Updated: July 31, 2010 4:32 P.M.)
Nablus – Ma’an – Dozens of Israeli settlers attacked a village south of the West Bank city of Nablus and set fire to village land on Friday, reports said.

Ghassan Doughlas, a Palestinian Authority settlement affairs officer who monitors the northern West Bank, said residents of the illegal Bracha settlement raided Burin village, broke into a home which is under construction and tried to demolish it, and started a fire on the village’s eastern side, in the As-Seb mountain area.

Israeli soldiers intervened in the ensuing clashes, firing tear gas and sound bombs at villagers.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said soldiers saw a gathering of Palestinians close to the Bracha settlement, and attempted to disperse the crowd, adding that tear gas and sound grenades were fired when Palestinians threw rocks at Israeli forces. She was not familiar with any fires in the area.

Settlers, angry at their government’s demolition of a structure they had built on an illegal outpost, have launched several attacks on the village of Burin this week.

On Monday morning, armed settlers raided the village and opened fire on villagers and set fire to village land. Four settlers and two Palestinians were injured in the ensuing clashes.

The nearby Huwwara checkpoint was closed due to rioting and Palestinian drivers reported that their windscreens were shattered as settlers, stationed in surrounding hills, threw rocks at Palestinian cars.

On Monday evening, settlers set fire to village land again, destroying more olive trees.

Settler leader Gershon Mesika blamed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the "despicable" act of tearing down the structure. "This house will be built again," he said, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz.

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