Dozens of armed Jewish settlers of Bat Ayin Settlement, attacked Palestinian homes in the nearby village of Safa, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron.The settlers hurled stones and empty bottles at the Palestinian homes, and when Israeli soldiers arrived at the scene, the soldiers fired tear gas canisters at the Palestinian residents and their homes instead of evacuating the settlers.

Medical sources reported several injuries among the Palestinians who inhaled the tear gas fired by the Israeli military.

Mohammad Ayyad, spokesperson of the Palestine Solidarity Project, said that the settlers began their attack at 5 a.m, on Wednesday, and also tried to set Palestinian farmlands ablaze but local farmers managed to stop them.

The attack was carried out after the army removed two illegal homes built a year ago by the settlers on lands adjacent to the illegal settlement. The settlers built the homes on Palestinian lands after a settler was killed by a Palestinian from the village.

Israeli sources reported that dozens of policemen entered the settlement early on Wednesday at dawn and demolished the homes.

Later on, the settlers attacked the Palestinian village and its residents as an act of revenge although the homes were demolished by the Israeli Authorities.

Settlers of Bat Ayin settlement carried repeated attacks against the villagers, burned and uprooted hundreds of peace trees and grapevines, destroyed property, stormed houses, attacked the residents with batons, and opened fire on them.

The illegal settlement was built by a direct order issued by the then-Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, in 1992.

It was established over the land of al-Jab’a village in the north western extremity of Hebron district as one of the ten colonies forming the Gush Etzion settlement block which is one of the three major settlement blocks in the West Bank after Ariel in the north and Ma’ale Adumim in the centre. It is located 1.5 km north of Khirbet Safa. (