Masked settlers assault Palestinian photographers

HEBRON, West Bank (Reuters) – Masked Jewish settlers threw stones at Palestinian photographers Friday near the West Bank city of Hebron, injuring one, Reuters television footage showed.

The confrontation came hours after Israeli troops tore down a building settlers had constructed without authorization in a bid to expand the Kiryat Arba enclave near Hebron.

Half a dozen settlers masking their faces with scarves hurled rocks at several Palestinian photographers at the scene, striking Hazem Bader, of the French AFP news agency in the head. Fellow journalists escorted him away as blood dripped from the wound.

Micky Rosenfeld, an Israeli police spokesman, said he could comment only once an official complaint was filed.

Hebron, the second largest Palestinian city in the territory captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, is a flashpoint of conflict between Palestinians and settlers who live inside the city and in Kiryat Arba.

Israeli police were investigating the spray painting of Muslim graves in the Hebron area earlier this week, vandalism Palestinians have blamed on settlers.

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