Israel on Alert for Settler Violence

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli officials are bracing for violence on the West Bank this weekend after a government raid on Jewish settlers in a disputed home in the West Bank town of Hebron.

Riot police and soldiers took the settlers by surprise Thursday, dragging them out of the place they called the "House of Peace."

Dozens were injured in the fighting over the building, where settlers had been living for 21 months.

They claimed the building was legally theirs, but the Israeli government disagreed and Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the eviction.

"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.

Later, violence erupted between settlers and Palestinians.

Hebron Arabs threw rocks at settlers, while Jewish youths defaced Palestinian buildings and Muslim graves, and set fire to at least two homes.

Palestinian leaders want all the Jews evicted from Hebron, but it is a place promised by God to the Jews in the Bible, and it is the final resting place for the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Authorities know Thursday's incident could be a preview of greater chaos to come if more than 200,000 Jews are eventually forced from their biblical homeland in the West Bank.

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