Armed settlers rescued from angry Palestinian villagers
RAMALLAH - Four Israeli settlers were rescued from angry Palestinian villagers in the occupied West Bank on Friday after they entered in unclear circumstances, Palestinian officials said.
The four armed settlers entered the village of Qusra, sparking a confrontation with residents, municipality head Abdul Azeem al-Wadi said.
Villagers surrounded them but Palestinian security forces stepped in to detain the four for their own safety, he said.
A Palestinian security source said the four were later moved to the outskirts of the village, from where Israeli forces took them to safety.
Israeli army spokesman Peter Lerner said three of the four were off-duty soldiers and an investigation was under way to detemine why they entered the village.
"Villagers hurled rocks at them, shots were fired in the air," he said, confirming the four were later brought out safely with the help of local officials.
Some 430,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank alongside around 2.75 million Palestinians. Some 200,000 more live in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.
There are regular tensions with neighbouring Palestinian towns and villages, with Palestinians largely banned from entering settlements and vice versa.
Despite the conflict, Palestinian and Israeli security services work together in many cases.