Israeli settlers attack holy shrines, vandalize Palestinian vehicles in West Bank
A group of Israeli settlers have stormed Islamic holy shrines and vandalized a number of vehicles belonging to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank in their latest round of provocation against Palestinian people.
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The settlers desecrated the holy shrines of prophets Thu al-Kifl, Thu an-Noon and Yosha shrines in Kifl Haris town, north of the West Bank city, Palestine’s Wafa news agency reported on Thursday.
The town mayor, Ali al-Qaq, said that the settlers forced their way into the holy sites under the full protection of Israeli forces.
Hardline Israeli legislators and extremist settlers regularly storm Islamic sites including the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied city of al-Quds, infuriating Palestinians. Such mass settler break-ins almost always take place at the behest of Tel Aviv-backed temple groups and under the auspices of the Israeli police.
Separately, settlers threw stones and sharp objects at cars in Salfit-district town of the occupied West Bank, causing damage to some of them.
They also vandalized the vehicles of at least three of the local residents, smashing the windshields of one and slashing the tires of two others.
In another development, hundreds of Israeli settlers stormed the archaeological site of Sebastia, a small historical town located 11 km the northwest of Nablus, Palestinian media said.
Sebastia mayor Mohammad Azzem confirmed that settlers broke into the site under the protection of the Israeli military.
This came after a large number of Israeli soldiers raided the town to prevent Palestinians from accessing the site.
Incidents of sabotage and violence by settlers against Palestinians and their property have become a daily occurrence throughout the occupied territories, particularly in the West Bank.
However, Israeli authorities rarely prosecute settlers and the vast majority of the files are closed due to deliberate police failure to investigate them properly.
Settler violence includes property and mosque arson attacks, stone-throwing, uprooting of crops and olive trees and attacks on vulnerable homes, among others.
Attacks by settlers against Palestinians have particularly intensified in the past few months.
The United Nations has already warned of a surge in Israeli settler violence against Palestinians, mostly in the areas of al-Khalil, al-Quds, Nablus and Ramallah.
More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.