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Empty Israeli bus reportedly attacked in Nablus

June 6, 2016 1:34 P.M. (Updated: June 6, 2016 5:33 P.M.)
Israeli forces place concrete barriers near Gush Etzion junction (MaanImages, File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces said on Monday morning that a settler bus was attacked with “steel balls” near the northern occupied West Bank town of Huwwara south of Nablus city Sunday evening, denying earlier reports that the bus came under gunfire by Palestinians.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that reports about gunfire were inaccurate and that investigations revealed that the bus was hit with “steel balls." The sources confirmed that no passengers were in the bus.

Israeli sources also said on Sunday night that another settler bus was attacked with rocks near the central West Bank village of Hizma north of occupied East Jerusalem, and that the driver was injured. The sources said large numbers of Israeli troops arrived and the bus driver was evacuated to hospital.

Commenting on the bus attack near Nablus, Palestinian security sources told Ma’an Sunday night that large numbers of Israeli soldiers deployed along the road near the towns of Beita, Huwwara, and Zaatara, all south of Nablus. The road near the illegal Israeli settlement Yitzhar was closed to traffic on Sunday night.

Since the violence and unrest in the occupied West Bank began in last fall, villages surrounding Nablus, particularly in and around Huwwara to the south, saw violent conflicts between settlers and Palestinians.

In early September, Israelis from the illegal settlement of Yitzhar south of Nablus set fire to dozens of olives trees near the Palestinian village of Burin to its north, as retaliation for the non-fatal shooting of a settler woman driving near the settlement.

On Oct. 1, suspected Palestinians shot and killed Eitam and Naama Henkin, two settlers who were driving between the illegal settlements of Itamar and Elon More in an area near Huwwara, south of Nablus.

Following the shooting, hundreds of Israeli settlers rioted across the occupied West Bank, with multiple attacks reported on Palestinian homes and vehicles.

Israeli settlers set fire to dozens of dunams of agricultural land, and violently assaulted two Palestinians in Huwwara while they were picking olives and injured them. The two need to be transferred to a hospital for treatment after the attack.

On Oct. 11, Israeli forces shot and injured at least 53 Palestinians, including a Ma'an cameraman, during clashes at Huwwara checkpoint.

On Oct. 14, Israeli settlers threw rocks at Palestinians picking olives in the village of Burin, injuring four Palestinians and one foreigner who sustained head injuries.

The Nablus district experiences a large proportion of settler violence in the occupied West Bank due to the close proximity of illegal settlements and Palestinian villages.

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