Reports from Israel claim that the Zionist state has increased its military presence in the occupied West Bank. According to Haaretz newspaper, the Israeli Occupation Forces have been reinforced by the equivalent of two battalions of troops. The move comes in the wake of the killing of five Jewish settlers in the illegal settlement of Itamar near Nablus.
The extra soldiers will allow increased army activity in the area and give extra official protection for the illegal settlements. Until now, Itamar colony has been protected by a civilian security firm. Haaretz noted that the civilian guards heard the alarm triggered by the intruders who went on to kill the settlers, but did not react to it. As well as having security guards and soldiers to protect them, all Israeli settlers are usually fully armed and use their weapons to attack Palestinians and their homes on a regular basis. One such attack took place last week in the village of Qasra, south of Nablus, resulting in dozens of casualties. On Friday, settlers uprooted and stole 500 olive trees in the district of Basalta; the trees had been planted by Palestinians as part of a regional reforestation project.