Israeli Settlers Torch West Bank Mosque

Israeli Settlers Torch West Bank MosqueIsraeli Settlers Torch West Bank Mosque

An attack against a mosque in a West Bank village early on Wednesday ignited a fire that destroyed its first floor, the village’s mayor said, blaming Jewish settlers for the attack.

The fire broke out before dawn in the village of Mughayer, north of Ramallah, said Mayor Faraj al-Naasan. He said efforts of residents and Palestinian fire services to quell the blaze succeeded only in saving the building’s second floor, according to AP.

The mayor said he had no doubt that Jewish settlers were responsible, citing a previous settler attack against another mosque in the village two years ago and frequent settler attacks against vehicles and olive groves there.

The attack comes as visits by Jews to the Temple Mount in Beit ul-Muqaddas, which is known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, have raised concerns among Muslims that Israel is secretly trying to take over the site.

The tensions at the shrines have frequently boiled over into violent demonstrations.

President of the Palestinian Unity Government Mahmoud Abbas and Netanyahu traded accusations on Tuesday over the tensions, with Abbas saying that frequent visits to the site by Jewish worshippers are fueling clashes and accused Israel of leading the region toward a “religious war.”

Meanwhile, an Israeli border policeman was arrested in connection with the death of a Palestinian demonstrator near Ramallah in May.