Israeli forces storm West Bank settler house

HEBRON, West Bank (AP) -- Israeli security forces have dragged some 250 Jewish setters out of a disputed house in the biblical city of Hebron.

More than a dozen settler families took over the house in March 2007 and had remained there despite a series of eviction orders. They are among about 600 settlers living in the midst of 170,000 Palestinians in Hebron.

Israeli security forces stormed the house in a surprise operation. The settlers had barricaded themselves inside in recent days, hurling rocks, eggs and chemicals to fend off an eviction. While only about 20 families were living in the building, others in nearby settlements would rush in on any rumor of eviction.

Today, security forces in riot gear used stun grenades and tear gas to repel the settlers as they carried out the operation.

Nearby, fist fights broke out between settler youths and Palestinians in the area.

Israel's rescue service says 20 people were hurt.

Hebron is the traditional burial site of Abraham, the shared patriarch of both Jews and Muslims.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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