Israeli settlers have overnight set on fire a mosque near the West Bank town of Ramallah, according to Palestinian security officials.
“The settlers set fire to the whole of the first floor of the mosque” in the village of Al-Mughayir, near the Shilo Jewish settlement, the officials said, as cited by AFP.
A group of Palestinian worshippers who came to the mosque for their morning prayer found the building in flames, Ma’an news agency reports, as cited by the Jerusalem Post.
The worshippers reportedly managed to extinguish the fire. The first floor of the mosque has been severely damaged.
“A call was received in the morning hours about an act of arson against a mosque in the village of Al-Maghir,” Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said, according to Ynetnews. “Police forces…together with the IDF have yet to enter the village in order to open the investigation due to riots in the area.”
Palestinian Mayor Faraj al-Naasan said he had no doubt that Jewish settlers were responsible for the attack, citing a previous settler raid against another mosque in the village two years ago and frequent settler attacks against vehicles and olive groves, AP reported.
“Only Jewish settlers would do this,” al-Naasan said.
Palestinians have filed a complaint with the West Bank’s IDF civil authority, the Times of Israel reports.
Another mosque was torched in the same village two years ago.
The arson attacks by hardline Jewish settlers are often accompanied by a graffiti reading “price tag,” but this was not the case in the latest incident, according to AFP citing Palestinian officials.
An ancient synagogue was also attacked overnight Wednesday, the Haaretz reports. It says the incident happened in Shfaram, an Arab community in northern Israel, where a fire bomb was thrown at the Jewish temple. No one was hurt in the incident, but some damage was done to the building, according to police.
Tensions have lately been high between the Israelis and the Palestinians over disrupted access to another place of worship, the landmark Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.
Israeli police have recently repeatedly closed the mosque, triggering an angry outcry from Palestinians.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has warned Israeli to stay away from Al-Aqsa and said has accused Israel of “leading the region and the world to a destructive religious war.”
On Tuesday, a Palestinian man was shot dead by the Israel Defense Forces in the West Bank, trying to disperse a rioting Palestinian crowd.
On Monday, an Israeli woman and an IDF soldier were stabbed, allegedly by Palestinians, in two separate attacks.
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