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Palestinian official says Israel responsible for 'lawlessness' after mosque attack

The torching of the mosque follows violent clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli army in 30 West Bank villages on Tuesday
The scene at the mosque in the village of Mughayar on Wednesday morning (MEE/Fadi Arouri)

A Palestinian government official has accused Israel of creating a state of “lawlessness” after a mosque in a West Bank village east of Ramallah was torched by Israeli settlers in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

“Israel will burn its fingers in the lawlessness it is nurturing through settlers and the Israeli army,” Palestinian Minister of State Ziad Abu Ein told the Middle East Eye. 

“Settlers can’t move except with protection and support from the Israeli security establishment, so it bears responsibility for this lawlessness by its borrowed dogs, the settlers,” he added.

The mosque and all its contents were burned, Mughayar village’s council leader Faraj Nasan told Middle East Eye.

Another mosque in the same village was set ablaze in a similar attack in 2012.

A mosque in a village near Ramallah on Wednesday (MEE/Fadi Arouri)
Hardline Jewish settlers frequently accompany their revenge attacks with graffiti bearing the legend "price tag". Nasan said nothing was written on the mosque’s walls this time.

The council leader said Wednesday's attack represents one of a series of attacks by settlers on the village.

“These include the burning of olive trees, attacks on farmers, preventing farmers from reaching their land, and killing people’s animals. Their goal is to push us away from our land,” Nasan said. “But this is our land and we will remain.”

Separately, Israeli soldiers shot and seriously injured a Palestinian man and detained another after raiding an apartment building in the town of Beituniya, south of Ramallah, the Bethlehem-based Maan News Agency said citing unnamed locals.

Ahmad Hussana was shot twice in the feet and a third time in the waist, and was left bleeding for 30 minutes in the apartment before soldiers allowed an ambulance to take him to hospital, the locals said.

Clashes then reportedly broke out between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian youths.

This latest incidents follow a series continuous attacks between Palestinians and Israelis in recent months. According to Agence France-Presse, at least 17 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank over the last five months.

A settler and an Israeli soldier were killed in separate Palestinian knife attacks in the West Bank and Tel Aviv on Monday.

On Tuesday, there were violent clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli army in some 30 West Bank villages, mainly in the areas of Bethlehem and Hebron, according to the Israeli Haaretz newspaper.

Six Israelis have been killed in less than three weeks, the paper said.

Additional reporting by Fadi Arouri.