Several dozen settlers have taken up residence in a Hebron house overnight, claiming they purchased it from its Palestinian owner.
Sources in Hebron said that the owner of the house, which is located near the Cave of the Patriarchs, was detained for questioning by the Palestinian police.
As soon as news of the move reached the defense establishment, large IDF forces arrived as the scene to maintain the order. No unusual events were noted on the premises overnight.
The IDF declared the immediate premises a restricted military zone. Military sources told Ynet that the land in question has been at the center of an ownership dispute.
The IDF said that the move constitutes "an irresponsible move and a dangerous provocation that may inflame spirits, especially ahead of Lad day."
Settlers have been buying up land and property in Hebron for several years now, with many of the purchases contested in court.
Sources familiar with Wednesday night's event told Ynet that the "operation was carried out in military fashion," adding that no one but the new tenants knew about the plan.
The settlers claim that they have all the legal documents attesting to the purchase of what has been dubbed the "Machpelah House."
Senior officers with the Judea and Samaria Spatial Brigade are currently looking into the purchase's legality.
Shlomo Levinger, one of the new owners, told Ynet: "This is very exciting. It's taken us years but we have finally been able to buy a house near the Cave of the Patriarchs.
"The police have decided not to allow anyone in until a decision on the property is made by higher-ranking officers," he added. "We were told that anyone who wants to leave may do so, but no one can go it. Naturally, we're not going anywhere."
MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union) commented on the event, saying: "It's time to reclaim all of the homes taken by the enemies in the City of the Fathers.
"The rule of law must allow for the most basic thing – to let Jews retune to the dozens of Hebron homes that belong to the Jewish community."
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