Armed settlers overlook a Palestinian village south of Nablus during confrontations following the setting on fire of Palestinian-owned fields on Jan. 1, 2010. (AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh/File)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Hundreds of Palestinians clashed with Israeli settlers and soldiers in Burin village in southern Nablus on Saturday afternoon, a local monitor said.
Ghassan Daghlas,who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma'an that Palestinians were forced to defend their homes after Israeli settlers set fire to trees and plants in the village and threw stones and empty bottles at residents.
The settlers reportedly attacked homes belonging to locals Bashir Hamza, Anas Odeh, and Ahmad al-Najjar.
Daghlas said that settlers descended on the eastern outskirts of the village, but were forced out by residents.
In the ensuing clashes, Israeli soldiers reportedly protected the settlers by firing tear gas and stun grenades at Palestinians.
A number of Palestinians suffered excessive tear gas inhalation, Daghlas said.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said she was looking into the incident.
Tensions have soared between Palestinians and Israeli settlers in recent days following an attack south of Nablus that left two settlers dead on Thursday.
Israeli settlers have launched a range of violent reprisals on Palestinians across the occupied West Bank following the attack, while Israeli soldiers shot and injured at least 10 Palestinians with live rounds on Saturday as they searched for those behind the shooting.
However, violence by both Israeli soldiers and settlers is a regular occurrence in the occupied Palestinian territory.
According to UN figures, the Israeli army has injured 1,740 Palestinians across the occupied territory this year and killed at least 26 Palestinians.
The UN has meanwhile counted at least 151 attacks by settlers on Palestinian people and property.
Last month, settlers from the illegal settlement of Yizhar were reported to have set fire to dozens of olive trees in the village of Burin, in full sight of Israeli soldiers who reportedly did nothing to stop them.
There are more than 500,000 Israelis living in settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, in contravention of international law.