Settlers break into IDF base in 'price tag' attack

Security forces chase 50 right-wing activists out of base; IDF: "This crosses a red line"; one arrested.

Israeli police scuffle with settlers_311 (photo credit: Reuters)
Israeli police scuffle with settlers_311
(photo credit: Reuters)
Fifty settlers and right-wing Jewish activists broke into an IDF base in the West Bank early Tuesday morning. The activists burned tires, spread nails on the roads, vandalized cars and threw rocks at the jeep of a senior officer.
The incident, the latest in a series of so-called "price tag" attacks by settlers and right-wing activists against Palestinians and the IDF, came just hours after security forces evacuated about 20 activists from an abandoned building they had raided along Israel's border with Jordan.
'Mugrabi Bridge closure is religious war'
The settlers and right-wing activists broke into the Efraim Regional Brigade Headquarters located near the settlement of Kedumim early Tuesday morning.
They punctured the tires of nearby military vehicles and hurled rocks at brigade commander Col. Ran Kahane as he drove nearby in his military jeep. He was not injured.
The infiltrators were pushed out of the base by IDF troops and Israel Police forces alerted to the scene.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the IDF to use all of the resources at its disposal to prevent further “price tag” attacks and to capture the perpetrators of Tuesday’s morning’s attack.
One individual was arrested Tuesday morning for obstructing the entrance to the base with stones, according to police. The suspect, a Beit El resident born in 1991, resisted arrest.
The IDF said that it would not stop carrying out its operations in the West Bank and that "violence against soldiers would not deter it." The IDF said that it expected rabbinic and settler leaders to condemn the incident.
IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai said a red line was crossed in the attack on an IDF base in the West Bank early Tuesday morning by Jewish settlers who he said were trying to drag the army into political affairs, speaking with Army Radio.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Mordechai said, has cleared his schedule "and I expect (the West Bank settler leadership) will hear from him."
"There is no doubt that we are seeing radical actors, who have a leadership behind them - certain rabbis, who want to drag the army into political matters," the IDF spokesman said.
But Mordechai declined to refer to the attack in the terms of the attackers: "Price tag." IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz "for a while now hasn't called this 'price tag.' We need to define this correctly."
The IDF Spokesman also insisted that it is the responsibility of the Police and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) to stop attacks on IDF soldiers, saying those two agencies "need to be making every effort to deal with this." The army's job, he said, "is to fight those threatening Israel.
Barak said of the earlier border fence attack: “These actions are dangerous and also threaten the delicate ties between Israel and its neighbors."