HEBRON, West Bank - Israeli soldiers and police stormed a disputed building in the biblical city of Hebron yesterday, dragging out 250 young settlers.
But activists responded with a wave of attacks on Israeli forces and Palestinians in the West Bank, even as Israeli politicians and some settler leaders denounced them.
This city of 170,000 Palestinians, with about 600 of the most extreme Jewish settlers living among them in small enclaves, is the traditional burial site of Abraham, the shared patriarch of both Jews and Muslims, and has been a focal point of Israeli-Arab violence for decades.
Some settlers say they want to expel all Palestinians from the city and have sought to expand their footholds as part of a campaign to pressure Israel to hold on to all of the West Bank.
Settlers moved into the four-story building in March 2007, claiming they bought it from a Palestinian. The man denied selling it, and Israeli authorities did not recognize the sale as legal. Israel's Supreme Court ordered the house vacated last month, but settlers refused.
In the surprise raid, about 600 soldiers and police rushed into the house and quickly began dragging out people one by one, their hands and legs held by teams of two or four officers.
Settlers, including young girls, punched and hit soldiers. Others threw acid, police said. Security officers in full riot gear fired stun grenades and tear gas.
The settlers tried to force their way back inside, but soldiers, who cleared the structure in just 20 minutes, formed a human chain to keep them out.
After losing the battle, the mostly teenage settlers rioted, setting fires near at least three Palestinian houses and burning nine cars, the Palestinian fire chief said.
About 35 settlers and soldiers were reported injured during the eviction, none of them seriously. Palestinian hospital officials said 17 Palestinians were wounded, including five by bullets.