PA: Settlers shoot at homes in Burin village, Nablus

01:00 Sep 19 2011 Burin and Awarta, Nablus district

NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Settlers opened fired on Palestinian homes late Sunday in the village of Burin in southern Nablus, Palestinian Authority officials said.

PA settlement affairs official Ghassan Doughlas told Ma'an that armed settlers shot at the village after midnight on Sunday.

The home of Said Najjar was hit in the attack, Doughlas said

Local guard committees witnessed the attack and contacted Palestinian officials.

In a separate incident on Sunday, settlers tried to raid the village of Awarta in Nablus. Israeli forces prevented the settlers from entering the village in a stand off which lasted 3 hours, witnesses said.

The latest attacks comes amid a recent surge in settler violence in the Nablus district.

Palestinian Authority spokesman Ghassan Khatib warned on Thursday that a serious increase in settler violence towards West Bank Palestinians threatened escalation of the situation ahead of the Palestinians' bid for membership of the UN.

News reports said two weeks ago that Israeli forces were arming settlers with tear-gas canisters, stun grenades and even trained dogs to counter potential attacks by the Palestinians.

On Sept. 5 settlers broke into Qusra village mosque, smashing windows, burning tires inside the building, and spray-painting walls with offensive slogans.

Village council head Hani Ismail told Ma’an on Tuesday that young men volunteered to guard the entrances to the village after the attacks, and had blocked further groups of armed settlers from entering the village.

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