A group of Israeli settlers have torched the Ali bin Abi Talib mosque in Deir Estia near the Salfit governorate, north of West Bank and have sprayed racist slogans on the mosque's walls, the Director of Salfit religious endowments, Salah Joudeh reported on Wednesday.
The mayor of Deir Estia, Ayoub Abu Hijleh, said the settlers set fire to the mosque's main door at 3 am on Wednesday morning, burning the mosque's carpets and its wooden poles. Abu Hijleh said the town's residents who came to perform the dawn prayer extinguished the fire and protected the mosque from burning entirely.
Israel's Yethioth Ahronoth news site said the settlers sprayed racist slogans on the mosque's walls and its surroundings reading "Arabs out!" and "Best regards from Qusra". Palestinian Maan news agency reported that other graffiti read, "The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: He shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked."
The settlers' attack is believed to be an act of revenge for last week's incident which took place in Qusra, a Palestinian village near Nablus, where locals apprehended a group of settlers who were attempting to attack the villagers and their properties.
Palestinian researcher Khaled Maali claimed that the village of Deir Estia is one of the most affected Palestinian villages in Salfit to suffer from settlement expansion and settler terrorism. Israel has established seven settlements on the village's land including the Immanuel settlement on the east and the YaKir and Nofim settlements on the south and Karnei Shomron, Shavei Shomron and Ma'ale Shomron settlements on the north and Revava settlement on the west.
Ma'ali explains that the settlements are surrounded by military watchtowers and military roads which are established on the village's lands and its valley known as the Wadi Qana.