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Israeli settlers break into and torch Palestinian mosque in Nablus area

April 13, 2018 3:33 P.M. (Updated: April 16, 2018 10:45 A.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Israeli settlers set fire to a mosque in the Aqraba village in eastern Nablus, in the northern occupied West Bank, before dawn on Friday.

Local activist Youssef Deiriyeh told Ma’an that surveillance cameras showed two masked figures wearing backpacks entering the Sheikh Saadeh mosque in western Aqraba at 2 a.m.

The two masked figures, allegedly Israeli settlers, poured flammable materials on the building's entrance and set it on fire before fleeing the scene.

Pictures of the aftermath showed fire and smoke damage to the front entrance of the mosque, as well as the words “death” and “price tag,” which had been spray painted onto the outside walls of the mosque.

No one was injured as a result of the attack.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack, highlighting that Israeli settlers have repeatedly torched mosques and churches across the occupied Palestinian territories, and that “such serious crimes are committed by terrorist settlers under the Israeli forces’ nose and protection.”

He stressed that his office would approach all relevant international institutions to ensure these “terrorists” are punished and protection is provided to the Palestinian people and religious sites.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Minister of Endowment and Religious Affairs, Sheikh Youssef Ideis, condemned the incident stressing that “such acts are terrorist acts,” which he said “are driven by organized Israeli incitement against the Palestinian people.”

This story continues below.

Many Palestinian activists and rights groups have accused Israel of fostering a “culture of impunity” for Israelis committing violent acts against Palestinians.

Better known as "price tag" attacks, extremist Israeli settlers use violent acts of retribution on Palestinians and their property to demonstrate their opposition to Israeli restrictions on settlements and their outposts in the occupied West Bank.

In March 2017, Israeli NGO Yesh Din revealed that Israeli authorities served indictments in only 8.2 percent of cases of Israeli settlers committing anti-Palestinian crimes in the occupied West Bank in the past three years.

Between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law, with recent announcements of settlement expansion provoking condemnation from the international community.

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