February 28, 2011 - 1:00am

Israeli police and Jewish supporters of an unauthorized West Bank outpost clashed early Monday morning, as authorities moved in to demolish several structures in the small village.

The Police arrested eight settlers, and Israel Radio and other media reported that 15 protesters were injured when authorities moved in to dismantle temporary structures at Gilad Farm, in northern West Bank.

Settlers charged that the police used excessive force in evacuating the area, and said police fired tear gas and rubber bullets from close range during scuffles. They called for an investigation into the events surrounding the demolition.

One of the residents, Yehuda Cohen, 22, told local Ynet news that he was hit in the back by a plastic bullet.

"At 4:30 (0230 GMT) we were awakened by cries of an evacuation. I stepped out of the door and saw that the farm was surrounded by officers and special forces. A few of us came round from the side, but they shined lights in our eyes and said, 'You better start running'," he said.

"We wanted to run, but then they started firing rubber bullets at us. I was hurt in the back and fell immediately. They fired dozens of shots. Then one of the officers yelled that he would ' rip apart' anyone who dared raise his head. There are a lot of guys here who were hurt from zero range. One of the residents, who is also a lawyer, attempted to film but took a bullet to the leg from two meters range," according to the Ynet report.

However, Israeli Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld, speaking with Xinhua, denied that rubber bullets were fired at protesters, and added that claims of the use of tear gas were being investigated.

"Five of those detained were holding knives and "ninjas" (tire spikes), and were arrested and questioned," Rosenfeld said.

The police have been preparing for so-called "price tag" revenge attacks against Palestinian property, as has happened in previous such clashes, Army Radio reported.

Gilad Farm is among over two dozen unauthorized outposts constructed over the last decade by setters, that Israel has said it would dismantle.

The 28-family community is named after Gilad Zar, who was killed in a Palestinian shooting attack in 2001. Zar's son Etai was among the eight arrested, according to Israel National Radio, a pro-settler internet station.

The site has been the scene of repeated clashes between settlers and the Israeli authorities who have tried to confiscate building materials for temporary housing.


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