Five US tourists who mistakenly entered the occupied West Bank town of Hebron and were attacked by Palestinians were given refuge in the home of a Palestinian local.
Fayez Abu Hamdiyeh told Ma’an that he saw what he believed to be five Israeli settlers running away from a group of Palestinians in the Mt. Jowhar area in Hebron, when he let them in his home in order to protect them.
The five told Abu Hamdiyeh that they they had entered the area by accident before their car was torched and stones were thrown at them, leaving two lightly injured, he said.
The local Palestinian then called the police from one of their phones, who arrived at the scene and took them from his home.
Israeli forces then raided the area and clashes broke out before the forces fired tear gas, rubber coated bullets, and stun grenades at Palestinian youth.
No injuries were reported.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that the tourists had “accidentally entered Hebron” in their private vehicle, when Palestinian residents threw rocks and a Molotov cocktail at the car.
Tensions have been on the rise between Israeli forces and settlers illegally stationed in the occupied West Bank and local Palestinian residents since a Palestinian baby and his father were killed in an arson attack carried out by Jewish extremists on July 31.
According to Israeli media, the tourists came under attack in Hebron while on their way to a religious site in the city, known by Jews as Tomb of the Patriarchs, and revered as the Ibrahimi Mosque by Muslims. The city of Hebron is divided by Israeli authorities into a complex web of Palestinian and Israeli-controlled areas through which Israeli settlers and non-Palestinians can easily pass, but local residents face heavy restrictions.
Today around 700 settlers — protected by thousands of Israeli forces — live in 80 homes in the city’s flashpoint Old City, many of whom have illegally occupied Palestinian homes and continue to remove the area’s inhabitants. MAAN