West Bank mosque attack blamed on radical Israeli settlers
January 15, 2014 -- Updated 1213 GMT (2013 HKT)
- The mosque entrance was set alight, Palestinian official says
- The vandals spray-painted the words "revenge by blood" on the mosque, he said
- The Israel Defense Forces says it was a so-called "price tag" attack
- It was an apparent response to clashes last week between Jewish settlers and Palestinians
Jerusalem (CNN) -- Israeli Jewish settlers set the entrance of a West Bank mosque on fire and spray-painted the mosque walls with hate messages against Palestinians and Muslims early Wednesday, Palestinian officials said.
The attack in the village of Deir Istiya was an apparent response to an incident last week in which Israeli settlers, Palestinians and Israeli forces clashed near the village of Qusra, south of Nablus.
"This is not the first time extreme Jewish Israeli settlers set a mosque on fire in the West Bank village of Deir Istiya and spray-painted hate messages," said Ghassan Douglas, a Palestinian Authority official who monitors the activities of settlements and settlers in the West Bank.
"The settlers almost on a daily basis do this to isolated Palestinians and damage their properties."
Expert: Middle East peace needs leadership
Israel holds ceremony for Ariel Sharon
Douglas said the incident was a so-called "price tag" attack -- a term used to describe acts of vandalism by radical Israeli settlers exacting a "price" against Palestinian targets or Israeli security forces in response to actions by the Israeli government.
The vandals spray-painted the words "revenge by blood" and "Qusra" in a reference to last week's incident, Douglas said.
The past two years have seen an increase in extremist Israeli Jewish settler attacks against Christian and Muslim religious sites, in which churches or mosques have been set alight, and against Palestinian property.
The Israel Defense Forces confirmed that a "price tag" incident had occurred, in which the door to the mosque was damaged and a rug was burned.
Graffiti was sprayed on the walls saying "Arabs out" and "regards to Qusra," the IDF said.
IDF spokesman Peter Lerner condemned the act.
"The incident is deplorable on every level," he said. It's against basic moral standards and jeopardizes safety and security and the stability the IDF is working hard to maintain."
He said the IDF is taking the incident "very seriously" and is determined to prevent a recurrence.
READ: Israel announces tenders for new settlement units in the West Bank
READ: Israeli defense minister apologizes for comments about Kerry
Part of complete coverage on
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1517 GMT (2317 HKT)
The beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley by ISIS militants brings into focus the risks faced by reporters in conflict zones.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1219 GMT (2019 HKT)
In an exclusive CNN interview, Lance Armstrong admits to having a "f**k you" attitude.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0858 GMT (1658 HKT)
Summer isn't over yet. These new hotels are keeping it alive and fresh.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1535 GMT (2335 HKT)
You've seen her turn on the catwalk, but her income might make your head spin.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 0036 GMT (0836 HKT)
The pain that Michael Brown's parents are going through is something Sybrina Fulton can relate to. She, too, lost a son in a controversial shooting.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0904 GMT (1704 HKT)
19-year-old Udi Segal explains why he won't join the country's military.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 1234 GMT (2034 HKT)
The sights couldn't be sadder: Animals killed or suffering through war in Gaza.
August 18, 2014 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
They are the faces of a community on the run. Photographer Warzer Jaff documents the plight of the Yazidis.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 1150 GMT (1950 HKT)
A cameraman films a massive New York City subway rat charging at him and attacking him. WPIX reports.
Drinkers guzzled an incredible 10.3 billion liters of this brand in 2013, making it the world's No.1 beer. And you may have never heard of it.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
Today's five most popular stories