Barak Orders Evacuation of Hebron House

Ad Feedback - HEBRON, Israel - Following a meeting with representatives of the Jewish residents of Beit Hashalom (Peace House) Thursday morning, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak made good on his threat to evacuate the premises.

"This building will be evacuated," Barak said. "The building will be under IDF [Israel Defense Forces] and state control until the court decides to whom it belongs," he said.

Some 600 policemen and soldiers in full riot gear descended on the 250 Israelis inside, using stun grenades and tear gas before dragging them from the building, in scenes reminiscent of the government's August 2005 evacuation of Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip.

Ten minutes into the expulsion, at least 20 people had been injured, one seriously, according to Israel's Channel 10.

Fifty ambulances were standing by at the site.

On Wednesday evening, representatives of the Jewish community in Hebron met with lawyers from the State Attorney's office to ask that residents be allowed to remain until the court rules on the building's legal ownership.

Residents hope to push forward the court hearing and said they would leave voluntarily if their ownership of the building is not validated.

"If we can get to a quick resolution of the civil case in Jerusalem, the problem is solved by itself. There would not be any need to take any action," Council of Jewish Communities head Dani Dayan said.

Earlier, police used stun grenades and tear gas to stop Jewish youth trying to get past roadblocks en route to the house in Hebron.

Sources: The Jerusalem Post, YNet news, israel national news

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