Israeli police begin demolishing 9 West Bank settler homes

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OFRA, Palestinian Territories: Israeli police on Tuesday began demolishing nine West Bank settler homes declared illegal by the Supreme Court, despite hundreds of protesters barricading themselves in them.The homes in the Ofra settlement, a symbol of Jewish settler defiance to international concerns, were found to have been built on private Palestinian land and ordered razed by March 5. Police cleared protesters from the houses one at a time over several hours, an AFP reporter said. They had cleared eight of the nine houses but dozens of predominantly young protesters made a final stand on the roof of the ninth. Two people were arrested for attacking officers, a police statement said, and eight officers were lightly injured, including by being bitten. Leaders of the Ofra community said they were intent on preventing major clashes like those during the eviction of the nearby Amona settlement three weeks ago, where youths barricaded themselves in a synagogue and attacked security forces. Amona residents announced they would begin a hunger strike on Wednesday until the government kept its commitment to build them a new settlement. The Palestinian information ministry denounced what it said was a media stunt.

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AFP

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