Israeli Settlers Attack IDF Soldiers During West Bank Demonstration
Israeli settlers attacked an Israel Defense Forces combat brigade commander and his soldiers early on Thursday morning. The soldiers were attempting to break up a demonstration by settlers on Route 60 in the northern West Bank, south of Nablus, during which the protesting settlers threw rocks at passing Palestinian cars. The settlers pepper sprayed and threw stones at the soldiers, injuring the unit commander and one of the soldiers. After attacking the soldiers, a group of the settlers fled the scene in a vehicle. Israeli security forces later arrested one of the settlers. A second attack by settlers on soldiers took place nearby shortly after the first. The attack was condemned by Israeli political and military officials. IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi called the attack against the soldiers “a very serious incident which embodies shameful and disgraceful criminal behavior, which requires swift and strict justice.” Kochavi also said that it is “unthinkable that IDF soldiers who defend diligently and devotedly will be violently attacked by settlers.” Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid tweeted that the Jewish settlers who attacked Israeli soldiers are “dangerous criminals who must be denounced and punished without hesitation and with all severity. They endanger the lives of our soldiers and they harm the State of Israel.” Tensions in the West Bank have been on the rise in recent weeks as Israeli troops conduct nightly arrest raids in Palestinian towns and villages, and Palestinians respond with violence on Israeli soldiers and settlers.