IDF forces razed two structures in the illegal West Bank outpost of Mitzpe Yitzhar in the early hours of Thursday morning.
Hundreds of police officers, IDF soldiers and Civil Administration officers arrived at the outpost and demolished the structures. The razing did not encounter any resistance by the settlers.
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According to the settlers, stones, nails and spikes were placed on the road leading to the outpost in order to disrupt the forces' movements, but to no avail.
Buildings razed in Mizpe Yitzhar
Hundreds of right-wing activists were headed to the outpost overnight with the intent of stopping the buildings' demolition, but the IDF declared the area between Tapuach Junction and Yitzhar a restricted military zone, stopping the activists in their tracks.
Mitzpe Yitzhar is an outpost adjacent to the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar and is home to five families. Yitzhar is considered to be the settlers' "hardcore" area and has often been the scene of riots.
Mitzpe Yitzhar this morning (Photos: Gil Yohanan)
Mitzpe Yitzhar resident Moshe Shimon told Ynet that the settlers will not be deterred: "We're getting ready to rebuild everything here. Two homes for every one that is razed. We're not afraid."
"The soldiers came like thieves in the night, like cowards," Avraham Benyamin, Yitzhar spokesman said. "The residents here were asleep and security forces stopped other settlers from arriving here."
Praying in the outpost
"I call on Netanyahu and Barak, who sent these forces of destruction – there are hundreds of illegal Arab homes around here and the government is doing nothing about that. Yitzhar's answer to this razing is to rebuild," he said.
The razing followed a recent escalation in extreme rightists' violence. On Tuesday, settlers protesting the impending eviction of the Ramat Gilad outpost raided a nearby IDF base and clashed with soldiers. On Wednesday, settlers implicated in "price tag" acts clashed with police officers in Jerusalem.
Recent events have prompted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to task Justice Minister Yaakov Ne'eman with heading a team which will devise harsher punitive measures against such acts of violence.
Peace Now Director Yariv Oppenheimer said that the razing, as well as the outpost's pending eviction were "nothing but symbolic steps. The government is reluctant to evacuate any of the significant outposts in the territories and continues its focus on lone structure to maintain the appearance of enforcing the law.
"The interior minister should deduct the cost of the demolition from the budget given to the Shomron Regional Council, as it assists illegal construction in the area."
Meanwhile, the six suspects arrested in Jerusalem on Wednesday in connection with "price tag" acts against Palestinians are scheduled to be arraigned before the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court later on Thursday. The police are seeking to have them remanded.
Yair Altman contributed to this report
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