Women stabbed, reprisals feared following West Bank mosque attack


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli security officials are concerned that Palestinian attacks on Jews will increase after the torching of a West Bank mosque.

The army has increased its presence in the Nablus area of the West Bank, where vandals raided a mosque in the village of Yasuf before dawn Friday, burning furniture, prayer rugs and holy texts and defacing the mosque’s walls, according to reports. One graffiti read "Price tag — greetings from Effi." Effi is a Hebrew name and "price tag" refers to the strategy extremist settlers have adopted to exact a price in attacks on Palestinians in retribution for settlement freezes.

The increased security is reportedly to prevent more attacks by Jewish extremists and reprisal attacks by Palestinians. 

A day after the mosque attack, an Israeli woman was repeatedly stabbed in the back at a bus stop in the West Bank. The woman, 22, was attacked late Saturday night near Gush Etzion; she is recovering at Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital. The attacker escaped.  Another person waiting at the bus stop was not harmed.

It was unclear if the stabbing was connected to the Mosque attack.

Meanwhile, dozens of Religious Zionist rabbis and activists from around the county were set to visit the village Sunday in order to help clean and fix the mosque, and donate copies of the Koran to replace the holy books destroyed in the arson attack, Ynet reported.

The rabbis arrived at a junction near the village and, though the visit had been properly coordinated were detained by the IDF Sunday afternoon. By the time they had permission to enter the village it was too late and they left, Ynet reported, The Korans were taken into the village by a Muslim representative.  

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government recently announced the launch of a 10-month settlement freeze with an eye toward accommodating the Obama administration’s attempts to revive peace talks.

Ehud Barak, the Israeli defense minister, slammed the attack. "This is an extremist act geared toward harming the government’s efforts to advance the political process for the sake of Israel’s future," Ha’aretz quoted him as saying.

The Israeli army is continuing to investigate the incident. As of Sunday afternoon, no arrests had been made.

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