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Israeli army, settlers clash during outpost evacuation

Dec. 28, 2012 7:41 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 31, 2012 12:56 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli security forces and settlers clashed on Friday during the attempted evacuation of an illegal settlement outpost north of Ramallah, Israeli media reported.

Israeli security forces, including the army, police and border police, took part in the evacuation of Oz Zion outpost in an area near the illegal settlement of Bet El, north of al-Bireh.

Some 150 settlers confronted the security forces and threw stones at them, injuring five Israeli border police, Ynet news-site reported.

Settlers also punctured the tires of two border police vehicles. Two settlers were arrested during the clashes, Ynet said.

An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma'an that "Israeli police and border police evacuated Israeli civilians that had attempted to reach a closed military zone. The civilians hurled rocks at security forces who responded with riot dispersal means."

Israeli security forces are expected to remain in the area over the weekend, Ynet added. The Oz Zion outpost has been evacuated several times in the past but settlers have returned to the area.

In September, 50 settler families were evicted from Migron outpost in the occupied West Bank after a court ruled that it had been built illegally on Palestinian land.

The United Nations deems all Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be illegal. Israel disputes this and distinguishes between about 120 settlements it has sanctioned and about 100 outposts erected by settlers without authorization.

About 500,000 Israeli settlers live on occupied Palestinian land.
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