Middle East

Israeli vandals fell fruit trees in revenge attack on Arabs

Surrounded by Israeli border police, Jewish settlers from the Esh Kodesh settlement outpost, sit in a field in an attempt to prevent Palestinians from farming land in the northern West Bank, Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Suspected Jewish extremists cut down fruit trees belonging to Israeli Arabs overnight in an apparent revenge attack for Palestinian villagers beating up Jewish settlers, police said Friday.

The vandals left placards in the orchard reading "Regards from Esh Kodesh," the West Bank settlement outpost whose residents were assaulted and briefly detained on Tuesday when they entered the Palestinian village of Qusra, some wearing masks.

The vandals struck near Kfar Qasim, an Israeli Arab town that borders the West Bank some 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of Qusra, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.

Seven of the dozen settlers involved in the original incident were meanwhile remanded in custody on Thursday night, Samri added.

They had been under house arrest since the army negotiated their release by the villagers while police investigated why they had entered Qusra in the first place.

The Palestinian government paid tribute to the villagers Thursday, saying they had acted in "self-defence" following numerous assaults by the settlers from Esh Kodesh, a few kilometres (a couple of miles) to the north.





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