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Israeli settlers vandalize vehicles, assault Palestinians in al-Khalil

A group of extremist Israeli settlers have vandalized a number of Palestinian-owned vehicles and assaulted local residents in the Old City of al-Khalil, south of the occupied West Bank.

Palestine’s official Wafa news agency said scores of Israeli settlers went on the rampage on Sunday, shattering the windshields of parked vehicles and physically attacking Palestinian passersby across the streets of the city.

The news agency said the settlers also pelted stones at Palestinian civilians in the neighborhoods adjacent to the illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba.

The Old City of al-Khalil is home to roughly 160,000 Palestinians and about 800 notoriously aggressive Israeli settlers, who live in compounds heavily guarded by the Israeli occupation forces.

Incidents of sabotage and violence by settlers against Palestinians and their property have become a daily occurrence throughout the occupied territories, particularly in the West Bank.

However, Israeli authorities rarely prosecute settlers, and the vast majority of the files are closed due to deliberate police failure to investigate them properly.

Settler violence includes property and mosque arson attacks, stone-throwing, uprooting of crops and olive trees, and attacks on vulnerable homes.

Attacks by settlers against Palestinians have particularly intensified in the past few months.

The United Nations has already warned of a surge in Israeli settler violence against Palestinians, mostly in al-Khalil, al-Quds, Nablus and Ramallah.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

Israeli settlers break into al-Aqsa Mosque

In another development on Sunday, scores of Israeli settlers, escorted by military forces, broke into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of al-Quds.

In what is viewed as a provocation, the Israeli settlers were reported to have entered the mosque’s courtyards through the Moroccan Gate and performed rituals and Talmudic prayers.

The incendiary move comes amid calls by far-right Israelis urging settlers to break into the holy site en masse on September 29 on the occasion of the Jewish New Year.

Such mass settler break-ins almost always take place at the behest of Tel Aviv-backed temple groups and under the auspices of the Israeli police in al-Quds.

The al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque.

The Jewish visitation of al-Aqsa is permitted, but according to an agreement signed between Israel and the Jordanian government in the wake of Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem al-Quds in 1967, non-Muslim worship at the compound is prohibited.

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