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Dublin: 13°C Saturday 23 October 2021

West Bank mosque torched by arsonists

Extremist Jewish settlers are being blamed for the attack.

Palestinians pray inside a partially burned mosque in the West Bank village of Beit Fajjar
Palestinians pray inside a partially burned mosque in the West Bank village of Beit Fajjar

A MOSQUE IN the West Bank was targeted by arsonists on Monday – in a move that may exacerbate tensions in the already shaky peace talks between the Israeli and Palestinian authorities.

The vandals torched the inside of the mosque, scrawled “revenge“ on the wall, and charred copies of the Qu’ran, reports Associated Press. The building was only partially burned in the attack.

The incident marks the third West Bank mosque burning in the past year. Similar attacks also occurred in December and March.

Authorities have pointed at extremist Jewish settlers of setting fire to the mosque, which is in the village of Beit Fajjar, near the city of Hebron.

Israeli President Binyamin Netanyahu has strongly condemned the attack.

Last week, a moratorium on Jewish building in the West Bank expired – and Israel did not extend the freeze despite international pressure to do so in the name of the peace talks. The issue of settlement is among the most contentious in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Authorities fear this new attack might spark fresh violence. The Jerusalem Post reports that a local TV channel showed footage of children chanting “Death to Israel” outside the mosque.

The village of Beit Fajjar is primarily Palestinian but is surrounded by Jewish settlements. Village councilman Kamel Hamish told AP that despite tensions physical violence between Israelis and Palestinians did not occur in the area.

After the fire was put out, residents filed into the blackened mosque to pray and an elderly man chanted verses from one of the scorched holy books.

So far, nobody has been charged with any of the three arson attacks on West Bank mosques that have taken place over the last year.

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