Israeli settlers torch mosque in West Bank town of Al-Bireh
Israeli settlers have staged an arson attack on a Palestinian mosque in Al-Bireh town near the city of Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, according to Wafa news agency.
Al-Bir wa al-Ehsan mosque's washroom and bathroom were set on fire, leaving them burned and damaged, but no one was reported injured.
The arsonists sprayed graffiti on the mosque walls saying “Siege for Arabs and not Jews" and "the land of Israel is for the people of Israel".
The mayor of Al-Bireh municipality, Azzam Ismail, told Wafa that Israeli settlers entered the town in the early hours of Monday, and sprayed racist graffiti and slogans on the inner walls of the mosque, as well as starting the blaze.
Residents of Al-Bireh noticed the fire around 3am before fire brigades extinguished it and Palestinian police arrived to investigate the incident.
'It is a racist and a criminal act that the occupation government is responsible for, as it support these terrorist groups'
- PA Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs
Al-Bireh is surrounded by the Israeli settlement bloc of Biet El to the north, and the Psagot illegal settlement to the south. To the west of the town lies the Palestinian city of Ramallah.
Al-Birr wa al-Ehsan mosque is located on the edge of the town.
Husam Abu al-Rub, the deputy of the Palestinian Authority's awqaf and religious affairs ministry, condemned the attack saying: “It is a racist and a criminal act that the occupation government is responsible for, as it support these terrorist groups,” referring to Israel.
In January, Israeli settlers torched a mosque and wrote anti-Arab slogans on its walls in the occupied East Jerusalem suburb of Sharafat.
Such vandalism by Israeli settlers against Palestinians communities are known as "price tag" attacks, and are used to intimidate residents and assert Jewish supremacy in territories Israel has militarily occupied since 1967.
“Price-tag” attacks have become increasingly common in the West Bank.
They include slashing car tyres and painting anti-Arab slogans, assaults on Palestinians, arson against properties and sacred places, and cutting down trees belonging to Palestinian farmers.