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Israeli police remove settlers from illegal West Bank outpost

Israeli police remove settlers from illegal West Bank outpost
A pre-fabricated home is lowered onto a tow truck as it is removed during an evacuation by Israeli paramilitary police of Jewish settlers from Amona, an illegal outpost in the Israeli-occupied West Bank January 3, 2019. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun -
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AMONA, West Bank (Reuters) - Israeli paramilitary police dragged dozens of Jewish settlers out of an illegal outpost in the occupied West Bank on Thursday in an evacuation that left several people injured.

Settlers had set up two caravans at the Amona outpost last month, in what they described as a protest against a recent surge in Palestinian attacks in the West Bank.

Two years ago, Amona's 300 settlers were removed by police after the Supreme Court determined it had been built illegally and without Israeli government authorisation on privately-owned Palestinian land in 1995.

Police said that in Thursday's operation, at least five officers were injured by stones thrown by the settlers, many of them teenagers. Israeli media reports said six settlers had also been hurt.

The evacuation was carried out after the Jerusalem District Court on Wednesday denied the settlers' petition against eviction.

Most countries consider all Israeli settlements on land occupied in the 1967 Middle East war to be illegal. Israel disputes this, and last week Israeli authorities issued approvals for more than 2,000 settler homes in the West Bank.

Some 500,000 Israelis live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which was also captured by Israel in the 1967 conflict. The two areas are home to more than 2.6 million Palestinians.

While Israel’s settlement projects have regularly drawn condemnation from the Palestinians and in Europe, the U.S. administration under President Donald Trump has taken a largely uncritical public stand.

(Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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