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Violent clashes reported Photo: Amir Cohen
Violent clashes reported Photo: Amir Cohen
 
Difficult day in Amona Photo: Gil Yohanan
Difficult day in Amona Photo: Gil Yohanan
 
Fire in Amona Photo: Amir Cohen
Fire in Amona Photo: Amir Cohen
 
Settlers prepare for clashes in Amona Photo: Reuters
Settlers prepare for clashes in Amona Photo: Reuters
 
 

 

Violent clashes in Amona; hundreds hurt

Unprecedented clashes in Amona: Police officer sustains very serious head injuries during evacuation of illegal West Bank outpost. Troops clash with settlers, MKs Eitam and Eldad among those wounded

Efrat Weiss
Latest Update: 02.01.06, 13:38 / Israel News

(VIDEO) AMONA Serious clashes; dozens hurt: More than 200 settlers, police officers, and soldiers sustained injuries Wednesday in violent clashes between rightist activists and troops during the evacuation of the illegal West Bank outpost of Amona.

 

One police officer sustained very serious wounds and lost his consciousness after a brick hit his head. Earlier, Border Guard officer sustained moderate wounds during the confrontation and was taken to hospital for treatment. Dozens of people were rushed to Jerusalem hospitals during the evacuation, many of them by Air Force choppers.

 

By noon, troops were able to complete the evacuation of three of the nine homes slated for demolition. Shortly thereafter, forces started demolishing the homes. By 1:30 p.m., all Amona structures were evacuated. Meanwhile, dozens of settlers were reportedly detained by security forces.

  

Clashes in Amona (Footage: Channel 2)

 

Earlier, the High Court of Justice rejected a petition filed by settlers against the demolition of structures in the outpost.

 

Chopper dispatched

 

Meanwhile, Knesset Member Effie Eitam sustained head wounds after being hurt by a stone, as forces stormed the outpost. Eitam is said to be suffering light to moderate wounds. His associates said he sustained head wounds after being run over by mounted police and hit with bats. Knesset Member Arieh Eldad who also arrived at the outpost reportedly broke his hand and fainted. Both MKs were taken to hospital for treatment.

 

Following the court decision, the public address system at the site prompted the thousands of youths in Amona to barricade themselves in homes and on roofs and prepare for confrontation, telling them "at this time the battle for Judea and Samaria has began."

 

Tensions High
Court rejects settlers' petition / Efrat Weiss
Amona evacuation to proceed as planned: Judges reject Yesha Council's petition against demolition of structures at illegal West Bank outpost of Amona; earlier, dozens hurt as settlers and troops clash, police goes on highest alert across country
Full Story

Meanwhile, thousands of settlers formed human chains around the structures, with sirens blaring in the backdrop, as security forces began making their way into the outpost.

 

Thick smoke was seen rising over the outpost, as forces equipped with bats and helmets were clearing their way into the outpost with the assistance of mounted troops. Right-wing activists, meanwhile, were sitting on the ground and attempting to block the forces.

 

At one point, the Air Force dispatched a helicopter to Amona in order to assist in the evacuation of the wounded, while additional choppers were put on standby in case of more injuries.

 

Border Guard forces cleared the barricaded settlers before starting to break into the homes. Police officers equipped with ladders were meanwhile making their way to the roofs.

 

Settlers were hurling stones, water balloons, and oil on troops, while female settlers hurled insulted at the forces.

 

"I thought Border Guard forces had honor," one female settler yelled, while another said: "You stepped on me in the past. Now I'm pregnant – just run over me again."

 

Security officials said forces may need to resort to the use of teargas in order to facilitate the evacuation.

 

Petition rejected

 

The High Court of Justice rejected Wednesday morning a petition filed by settlers against the demolition of permanent structures in the illegal West Bank outpost of Amona.

 

Earlier, the High Court issued an injunction against the demolitions until the settlers' petition is heard, but a special three-judge panel now rejected the petition by a 2-1 margin, clearing the way for an immediate resumption of the evacuation operation.

 

Meanwhile, police across the country went on the highest alert in light of the operation to evacuate Amona. Earlier, police Chief Moshe Karadi decided to send another 1,200 police officers to Amona to boost the 6,000 forces already there.

 

Earlier Wednesday, dozens were hurt after troops and settlers clashed, before the High Court issued an injunction against the demolition of homes.

 

Sirens were heard in Amona around 3 a.m. and the public address system called on the thousands of youths in the area to wake up and prepare, as security forces were making their way to the area. The teenagers were called upon to take positions inside and on the roofs of structures at the site.

 

Shortly thereafter, clashes between the sides broke out, after security forces broke through the obstacles placed in their way by the settlers at the entrance to Amona. The settlers, meanwhile, responded by hurling stones and bottles at the forces.

 

Anat Barshkovsky contributed to the report

 

First Published: 02.01.06, 10:20

 

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