Last updated: 18 December, 2011

Jerusalem court releases two “price tag” suspects

An Israeli court on Sunday released on bail two West Bank settlers arrested on suspicion of involvement in violence and vandalism against Palestinians, a spokeswoman said.

The two were arrested by police on Wednesday along with another four, all settlers who were barred from returning to the Israeli-occupied West Bank by a military order.

On Wednesday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered tougher measures against Jewish “rioters” after a surge in settler violence, in particular an attack on an Israeli military base in the West Bank.

On Friday, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court extended the remand of three of the suspects, while ordering the release of a minor and two adults.

Police appealed against the decision to release the two, but it was upheld on Sunday by the Jerusalem District Court, police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP.

The three who remain in detention will be brought to court for a remand hearing on Tuesday.

The arrests came hours after vandals tried to burn down an abandoned mosque in central Jerusalem and daubed it with racist anti-Arab slogans in Hebrew in an act of revenge, known as a “price tag” attack, against government action to dismantle wildcat settlement outposts.

The six men were not believed to be connected to the mosque attack, nor to the most recent “price tag” attacks this week, targeting troops and the army base, police said.

The Jerusalem mosque attack was part of a slew of “price tag” incidents — revenge attacks by Jewish extremists which generally target Palestinians, although they have also been directed at the army and leftwing Israelis.

On Thursday, vandals torched a West Bank mosque as Israeli troops demolished part of an outpost in the northern West Bank.

Hebrew-language graffiti at the scene linked the attack to state plans to dismantle outposts.