A large Israeli force raided two villages near Ramallah on Thursday morning leading to clashes with locals, witnesses said.
Around 300 soldiers in army jeeps, accompanied by bulldozers, entered Deir Ghassana and Beit Rima, ransacking homes and entering mosques in both villages, witnesses told Ma’an.
Residents of Deir Ghassana said Jewish settlers have threatened to torch the village mosque. On Wednesday, settlers threw a burning tire into a mosque in neighboring village Bruqin, local officials said.
Local youths threw stones and blocked roads with burning tires in both villages, and Israeli troops fired tear gas, witnesses said. Locals reported hearing gunfire but no injuries were reported.
In Beit Rima, residents told Ma’an they were concerned by the presence of bulldozers and feared the Israeli force would demolish homes in the village. An elderly woman suffered breathing problems after Israeli forces fired tear gas.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said forces operated overnight in Arura, north of Ramallah, “to prevent terror activity.” She declined to elaborate on the nature or purpose of the operation, or whether it extended to Deir Ghassana and Beit Rima, but said troops were deployed to the “entire area.”