Settlers held as Israeli troops raze West Bank outpost

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Israeli security forces destroyed makeshift structures in a wildcat settlement outpost on Thursday, sparking protests which saw six Jewish settlers arrested, police and the army said.

“The army went to demolish two structures erected without permission near Yitzhar (settlement) and six people who demonstrated against it were arrested,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

“Demonstrators threw stones at the soldiers, border police and police officers who were mobilized for this operation,” he added.

Media reports identified it as the Kipa Sruga outpost near the radical Yitzhar settlement not far from the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

A spokesman for the Israeli army confirmed the incident but said “three illegally built structures” had been demolished.

“After the operation, around 20 Israeli civilians threw stones at the security forces and another 20 or so gathered in a nearby area and rolled burning tires towards the forces,” he said.

Yitzhar settlement is known as a bastion of extreme radicalism, with residents often involved in clashes with Palestinians or the Israeli security forces.

The Israeli government distinguishes between ‘authorized’ settlements built with all the required permits, and unauthorized settler outposts, which are set up without them.

Young radical settlers, better known as the hilltop youth, often set up makeshift outposts throughout the West Bank which are periodically torn down by the army.

Other outposts are more permanent and appear to have the tacit backing of the authorities, having access roads paved and being quietly hooked up to the electricity grid and the water network.

The international community considers all settlements built in the West Bank and east Jerusalem to be illegal because they are built on territory Israel occupied during the 1967 Six Day War.