Arson attack on Palestinian mosque in West Bank
Arson attack on Palestinian mosque in West Bank, Jan 15, 2013. Photo by Courtesy: Rabbis for Human Rights
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Vandals set fire to a mosque early Wednesday morning in the Palestinian village Deir Istiya in the northern West Bank, in a suspected hate crime by Jewish vandals. Light damage was caused to the door of the mosque as the fire did not spread.

Palestinian residents report graffiti sprayed on the mosque with the messages: "Arabs out, "Hi from Qusra' and "Revenge for spilled blood in Qusra."

The Israel Defense Forces responded in a statement that it is considers the incident as severe. "Such acts divert our attention from their primary mission, which is to combat terror, and undermine the relative stability in the area.

Last week, a group of more than 10 settlers from the outpost of Esh Kodesh, in the Nablus area, were apprehended and beaten by Palestinian villagers after trespassing on their land in Qusra. The settlers were later handed over to the Israel Defense Forces.

The annual rate of Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians has almost quadrupled in eight years, UN figures show. There have been 2,100 such attacks since 2006, the year the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) started counting. The annual totals are up from 115 in 2006 to 399 in 2013.