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Mosque damaged in West Bank attack

  |   Jan. 15, 2014 at 7:01 AM
DEIR ISTIYA, West Bank, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- A door to a mosque in the West Bank was set afire and graffiti scrawled on its walls in a suspected price tag attack early Wednesday, police officials said.

No one was injured in the Deir Istiya attack, which police said they think was carried out by right-wing extremist Jews in what they described as a suspected price tag incident, referring to acts of random violence carried out by Jewish extremists against Palestinian property and members of Israel's security forces.

Graffiti spray-painted on the mosque walls said: "We will avenge your spilled blood, Qusra," and "Arabs out" and "Greetings from Qusra," referring to a Jan. 7 incident in which 15 Israeli settlers were held captive by Palestinians on suspicions the Jews were about to carry out an attack on Palestinian property, the Times of Israel said.

A statement released by the Israeli army said it views the vandalism with the utmost severity because it diverts "the attention and efforts of security forces from their primary mission of fighting terror. Such events also work to destabilize the region."

Deir Istiya Mayor Ayub Abu Hiljah told the Ma'an News Agency settlers sneaked into the village before dawn prayers and set fire to the mosque door.

"Local residents alerted by a worshiper who saw the fire on his way to perform dawn prayers scared the settlers away and put out the fire," he said.

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