Settlers clash with soldiers in Hebron

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The Independent Online

Israeli troops who were erecting a 15ft concrete barrier to protect a Palestinian house in the West Bank have been pelted with rocks and eggs by Jewish settlers.

Israeli troops who were erecting a 15ft concrete barrier to protect a Palestinian house in the West Bank have been pelted with rocks and eggs by Jewish settlers.

The house, which overlooks the Jewish enclave of Avraham Avinu in Hebron, has been empty since the intifada began in September 2000 but is being renovated. The settlers also stoned several Palestinians, witnesses said. Two women settlers were detained and a third slightly injured in a scuffle with the soldiers.

As confrontation escalated, a Palestinian scuffled with soldiers and police. He was wrestled to the ground and handcuffed before being driven away.

Settlers, many of them young children, tried to block construction of the concrete wall by sitting astride it before being dragged away. Police have maintained a guard to protect the home against attacks.

In 1997, as part of interim peace accords, Hebron, a Palestinian city of 130,000 inhabitants, was split into two. The central area remained under Israeli control, while the remainder was handed over to Palestinian control.

About 500 Jewish settlers, many of them extremists, live in the Israeli part. Clashes between settlers and Palestinians are frequent.

On Tuesday, Israeli troops beat five unarmed Palestinian traffic police in the city when they refused to obey soldiers' orders to leave an area which the military had declared off-limits to them.

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