NABLUS, West Bank (AP) – Jewish settlers, Israeli troops and Palestinian villagers clashed with guns, rocks and tear gas, leaving five Palestinians hospitalized Saturday, hospital officials said.
Israeli media said five settlers were lightly hurt, but gave no details.
The confrontation erupted Friday evening near the Jewish settlement of Yitzhar, one of the more militant in the West Bank, raising the prospect of further friction in the area.
The incident began after Yitzhar residents saw several Palestinians walking toward the settlement and suspected they were trying to attack the settlement, the military said. Last year, an Israeli boy was stabbed and wounded in such an attack.
Later, about two dozen settlers, some masked and armed, walked from Yitzhar toward the Palestinian village of Orif, firing bullets and throwing rocks, villagers said. Orif’s mayor, Fawzi Shehadeh, said Palestinians threw rocks at the settlers.
Shehadeh said Israeli army forces entered the village to try separate Palestinians from the Jewish settlers. He said Palestinians hurled rocks at Israeli soldiers who fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel pellets.
In all, five Palestinians remained hospitalized Saturday, three with gunshot wounds and two who were hit by rubber bullets, said Palestinian health official Khaled Saleh.
It was not possible to contact Yitzhar residents because of the Jewish Sabbath.