Palestinians, settlers clash near Bat Ayin

JERUSALEM (JTA) – At least 16 were injured in a confrontation between Palestinians and settlers from a community still shaken by a recent terrorist attack.

A week after a Palestinian brandishing an axe entered the West Bank settlement of Bat Ayin, killing a 16-year-old boy and wounding a seven-year-old, Israeli soldiers on Wednesday morning broke up clashes between residents of Bat Ayin and Palestinian residents of nearby villages.

The soldiers fired tear gas and shot at the legs of Palestinians to break up the confrontations, according to reports.

Settlers say Bat Ayin residents were attacked by Palestinians throwing rocks while reciting the Blessing of the Sun prayers Wednesday morning. Palestinians say the settlers entered their village, Hirbat Safa, and began damaging property.

The IDF never found the assailant from Thursday’s attack on the Gush Etzion-area commnunity of 1,000 residents.

Three residents of Bat Ayin in 2002 were sentenced to prison for trying to bomb a Palestinian girls’ school in East Jerusalem.

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