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Daily Israel Report

Two New Arrests Amid Clashes in Yitzhar

Stone-throwing between security forces, extremists in Yitzhar overnight; more suspects arrested.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 4/9/2014, 4:26 PM / Last Update: 4/9/2014, 5:37 PM

Road sign to Kedumim and Yitzhar
Road sign to Kedumim and Yitzhar
Hillel Maeir

Two Samaria residents were arrested on Wednesday afternoon, as news surfaced that more clashes happened overnight in the community. 

"Border guards and soldiers were attacked by stone throwing during their night patrols" near Yitzhar  in the northern Samaria, police
spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP. "The situation is calm now but could escalate at any moment, and security forces are deployed at Yitzhar."

Rosenfeld said there had been no casualties but that two men had later been arrested. According to Ma'ariv, the men were a 20 year-old man from Havat Gilad and a 40 year-old man from Yitzhar. 

Yitzhar has been the center of dramatic clashes between the IDF and an extremist element in the town this week, which began after IDF Colonel Yoav Yarom found his tires slashed outside the community. Yarom stressed to Arutz Sheva Tuesday that the Yitzhar residents themselves were helpful and apologized immediately over the vandalism.

However, the situation snowballed quickly, after officials labeled the tire-slashing a "terrorist act," and a minor was arrested in Jerusalem on suspicions of participating in the attack.

On Monday, the minor was released to house arrest; however, a possible copycat attack 24 hours later drove tensions over the edge. The IDF declared the move a "red line" and began an investigation into Yitzhar; the raid caused intense clashes between local residents, who are weary of frequent raids and demolitions of private property, and police forces.

Tuesday morning, the IDF and other security forces began demolishing homes in Yitzhar, as extremist youths vandalized IDF outposts. Politicians from all sides of the political spectrum have condemned the attacks - albeit for different reasons - and many have stressed that the greater Yitzhar community is not behind the extremists

On Wednesday, leftist groups began responding to recent events in the community by urging the IDF to crack down on Jewish "settlers" in the region. The Council for Peace and Security, a left-oriented group of former senior security officers, sent a letter to the IDF Chief of Staff and to the Minister of Defense Wednesday demanding that they take an "uncompromising approach" to "price tag" attacks in Judea and Samaria following this week's clashes.