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Mayor: Settlers torch West Bank mosque

Dec. 7, 2011 12:40 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 9, 2011 11:21 A.M.)
SALFIT (Ma'an) -- A mosque was set on fire on Wednesday by settlers in the West Bank village of Bruqin, near Salfit, local officials said.

The governor of Salfit Isam Abu Bakr told Ma'an that at 2.00 a.m. a number of settlers sprayed racist anti-Arab slogans on the mosque walls and torched a car belonging to local resident Muatasim Samarah.

Abu Bakr said that the attack came "after Israeli forces issued demolition warrants against the mosque claiming it was built without a license."

Mayor of Bruqin village Accra Samara said a flaming tire was thrown into the entrance of the mosque, and that assailants scrawled the words, "Hero of Ariel," The Associated Press reported.

Ariel is a nearby Jewish only settlement which cuts deep into the West Bank.

A bulldozer belonging to local villager Ali Nael was also set on fire by settlers, locals said.

Israeli police spokeswoman Cuba Samurai told AP police were investigating the incident.

In June, a mosque in al-Mughayyir, near Ramallah was torched and sprayed with anti-Arab graffiti.

In a similar incident, settlers broke into al-Nurayn mosque in Qusra, south of Nablus in September, smashing windows before setting fire to used tires inside the building.

Settler-related incidents resulting in Palestinian injuries and damage to property are up more than 50 percent this year, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, which documents violence in the Palestinian territories.

Almost all "price tag" attacks occur in the occupied West Bank, but in October a mosque in the Bedouin village of Tuba Zangaria in northern Israel was set alight. On the outside of the mosque were scrawled the words "price tag" and "revenge" in Hebrew.
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