A Palestinian mosque near the West Bank city of Ramallah has been set alight by people thought to be Jewish settlers, damaging its interior.
The incident happened on Thursday after Israeli forces tore down structures in a settler outpost built without government approval.
“Thankfully, the torching occurred shortly before dawn prayers, and the villagers who arrived at the mosque put out the fire,” said Mahmoud al-Habash, the Palestinian minister of religious affairs.
The mosque was defaced with Hebrew graffiti that said “war” and “Mitzpe Yitzhar,” the name of the outpost where the demolitions had taken place hours earlier.
“”We will not let them ignite a war of bloodshed, a religious war, with our neighbours“
– Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu
The Palestinian Authority described the mosque burning as “hate crimes” and in a statement called on foreign powers to hold the Israeli government responsible for settler violence.
The vandalism appeared to be the latest act of defiance by settlers whom Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has vowed to rein in after similar attacks on mosques and vandalism at an Israeli military base.
Although Israel continues to expand larger official settlements…