Armed settlers attack West Bank village of Jalud

12:00 Sep 2 2011 Jalud

NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Armed Israeli settlers attacked Jalud village south of Nablus on Friday demanding that villagers leave their homes, a Palestinian official said.

Clashes broke out and Israeli police arrived on the scene, where they fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse villagers, Ghassan Doughlas, the Fatah official charged with monitoring settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma'an.

The settlers, from a small outpost near Jalud called Ahiya, attacked homes and properties, Doughlas said.

Threatening villagers with weapons, they called on the Palestinians to evacuate the village, he added.

A spokeswoman from Israel's Judea and Samaria Police said groups of Palestinians and Israeli settlers from Ahiya gathered "to protest about each other."

"One of the Israelis said they heard someone shoot in the air, so the police came, but they didn't see any shooting" and went on to disperse the group, she said.

Jalud, a community of about 600 Palestinians, faces high unemployment and migration from the village as land confiscation and violence from nearby outposts Ahiya and Kida, both about 50-person strong, pose a threat to the village, Jalud's mayor says.

Outposts are communities built without official Israeli government permission in the West Bank, often expanding the larger and accredited settlements on Palestinian land, although many outposts are established with tacit state support.

The latest figures from the Israeli group Peace Now, which opposes the settlements, puts the number of Israeli settlement outposts at around 100.

Six outposts and two larger settlements, Shilo and Eli, surround the Jalud area.
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