Skip to main content

West Bank mosque attack blamed on radical Israeli settlers

By Kareem Khadder and Michael Schwartz, CNN
updated 7:13 AM EST, Wed January 15, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The mosque entrance was set alight, Palestinian official says
  • The vandals spray-painted the words "revenge by blood" on the mosque, he said
  • The Israel Defense Forces says it was a so-called "price tag" attack
  • It was an apparent response to clashes last week between Jewish settlers and Palestinians

Jerusalem (CNN) -- Israeli Jewish settlers set the entrance of a West Bank mosque on fire and spray-painted the mosque walls with hate messages against Palestinians and Muslims early Wednesday, Palestinian officials said.

The attack in the village of Deir Istiya was an apparent response to an incident last week in which Israeli settlers, Palestinians and Israeli forces clashed near the village of Qusra, south of Nablus.

"This is not the first time extreme Jewish Israeli settlers set a mosque on fire in the West Bank village of Deir Istiya and spray-painted hate messages," said Ghassan Douglas, a Palestinian Authority official who monitors the activities of settlements and settlers in the West Bank.

"The settlers almost on a daily basis do this to isolated Palestinians and damage their properties."

Expert: Middle East peace needs leadership
Israel holds ceremony for Ariel Sharon

Douglas said the incident was a so-called "price tag" attack -- a term used to describe acts of vandalism by radical Israeli settlers exacting a "price" against Palestinian targets or Israeli security forces in response to actions by the Israeli government.

The vandals spray-painted the words "revenge by blood" and "Qusra" in a reference to last week's incident, Douglas said.

The past two years have seen an increase in extremist Israeli Jewish settler attacks against Christian and Muslim religious sites, in which churches or mosques have been set alight, and against Palestinian property.

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed that a "price tag" incident had occurred, in which the door to the mosque was damaged and a rug was burned.

Graffiti was sprayed on the walls saying "Arabs out" and "regards to Qusra," the IDF said.

IDF spokesman Peter Lerner condemned the act.

"The incident is deplorable on every level," he said. It's against basic moral standards and jeopardizes safety and security and the stability the IDF is working hard to maintain."

He said the IDF is taking the incident "very seriously" and is determined to prevent a recurrence.

READ: Israel announces tenders for new settlement units in the West Bank

READ: Israeli defense minister apologizes for comments about Kerry

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:53 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
ISIS has captured the minds of a new generation of global jihadists. What does it mean for al Qaeda?
updated 3:03 PM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
For years, Morten Storm moved between two worlds. A radical Islamist turned double agent is lifting the lid on some of the world's best-kept secrets.
updated 8:38 PM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
A man abducted alongside killed U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff tells CNN how they were kidnapped and says no one from the U.S. government has tried to talk with him since his release.
updated 9:11 AM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
Have you been to these? The global museum list, released Tuesday, ranks 25 of the world's best museums.
updated 9:00 AM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
iOS 8, the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system, comes with new features that you'll enjoy.
updated 11:34 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
What will happen to Scotland's business (not to mention its currency) if they vote to leave?
updated 8:53 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
The Ebola virus, very deadly and currently without a cure, is fast-spreading throughout the small West African country.
updated 9:24 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
Go to any provincial city in China and you'd be forgiven for thinking the national youth pastimes are online gaming and flirting.
updated 4:51 AM EDT, Mon September 15, 2014
North Korea calls its human rights a "superior system."
updated 5:29 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
In Wenzhou, called the "Jerusalem of China," authorities have demolished churches.
Are you Muslim? What do you want the world to know about your religion?
updated 6:04 AM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT