Settlers vandalize army vehicles at IDF Base

12:00 Sep 7 2011 Binyamin region

More than a dozen army vehicles damaged in first 'price tag' attack carried out by extremist settlers at any IDF base, apparently in retribution for demolition of three illegal homes in Migron outpost.

By Anshel Pfeffer, Anshel Pfeffer and Chaim Levinson

The Yesha Council of Settlements, the central body representing Israeli residents in the West Bank, on Wednesday condemned the "price tag" operation carried out an Israel Defense Forces base earlier in the day and urged authorities to crack down on what it called a "marginal group".

This was the first "price tag" act extremist settlers have implemented against the army since adopting their policy of seeking retribution to exact for any curb on Israeli construction in the West Bank.

Unknown perpetrators infiltrated a base in the Binyamin region and snuck their way to a mechanics workshop on site, where they slashed the tires and cut the cables of 13 army vehicles. The vandalism was apparently carried out in revenge for the demolition of three illegal homes in the West Bank outpost of Migron earlier this week.

The vandals sprayed the word "price tag" on the walls, as well as other graffiti referring to the structures demolished by the IDF .

IDF officials called the incident grave and unprecedented, as it marks the first time settlers had carried out a planned act of vandalism against army equipment.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak called the act "criminal" and said that the perpetrators would be caught soon. "Acts of vandalism against Israelis and Palestinians are intended to disrupt routine life [in the West Bank] and to cause an escalation during this sensitive period," he said.

Opposition leader and Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni said that the act crossed a "dangerous red line" and called on all Israeli leaders to condemn it.

Extremists adopted their "price tag" policy to demonstrate discontent with the government's decision to freeze construction in West Bank settlements, but have directed their operations thus far at Palestinians.

Nonetheless, clashes between Israeli security forces and settlers have become common occurrences during outpost demolitions.

The most recent "price tag" incident took place on Monday, when a mosque in the West Bank village of Qusra, south of Nablus, was torched just hours after the demolition of the homes in Migron.

According to Palestinian sources, a group of settlers arrived at the village mosque at approximately 3 A.M., threw burning tires toward at the building and broke several of its windows.
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