QUSRA, Palestinian Territories: Palestinians beat and detained several Israeli settlers who had entered a village near the West Bank city of Nablus Tuesday before releasing them, sources on both sides said.
Palestinian security sources told AFP locals had apprehended the settlers, some of whom were masked, after earlier clashes between the sides near Qusra village.
Israeli soldiers, alerted to the incident by the Palestinians, negotiated the release of over ten settlers from a house in the village where they were being held, an AFP correspondent said.
The Israeli army said it had "vacated" 11 Israelis from a building in Jalud, a village adjacent to Qusra, "with light-moderate injuries, following a confrontation which erupted earlier today between them and Palestinians".
"During the confrontation mutual rock-hurling took place, injuring some of the Israelis," the army said in a statement.
"Initial inquiry suggests the confrontation erupted following a law enforcement activity which took place earlier today in Esh Kodesh."
Esh Kodesh is a nearby settlement outpost, where military radio said the army had earlier uprooted an olive grove settlers had illegally planted.
A group of settlers then entered Qusra to provoke a clash, the report said.
Palestinian property is often targeted by Jewish extremists who carry out "price tag" attacks, usually for state moves against unauthorised settlement activity in the West Bank. Perpetrators of the phenomenon also target Muslim and Christian sites, as well as Arab property in Israel.
However, an Israeli wounded in the event told army radio Palestinians had attacked a group of settlers who were hiking in the area and had not provoked an attack.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP that three of the Israelis who were in Qusra were currently in hospital and four others were under investigation in police custody.
Rosenfeld added three Israelis were arrested for throwing stones at Palestinian cars near Shiloh, which is just south of Qusra, in what was probably a reaction to the day's previous clashes.
The area south of Nablus, in the northern West Bank, is the scene of frequent clashes between Palestinians and Jewish settlers from nearby settlements.