IDF commander: Settler leaders 'losing control' to rioting youths
Army furious after three hurt when settlers mistook a military exercise for eviction.
A senior army commander on Thursday accused settler leaders of losing control of West Bank areas under their control after 30 youths attacked soldiers and border guards, injuring three.
A soldier and two Border Police officers were hurt in the hilltop settlement Yitzhar on Wednesday when settlers mistook a military exercise for an attempt to evict them.
"Around 30 youths overcame the security guard at the gate, threw stones and set tires alight," said Col. Itzik Bar, who accused the settlement movement of "losing control of what is taking place on the ground".
Commanders of the Israel Defense Forces' West Bank division had coordinated the drill with leaders in the Yitzhar hilltop settlement near Nablus.
But it appears no one had told the settlement's teenagers, who attacked soldiers and border guards - apparently fearing the latest enforcement of a government crackdown on building in the West Bank.
"We carried out a training exercise coordinated in advance with full transparency," Bar said.
Rioters also slashed the tires of military vehicles before blocking the gate to the settlement, preventing the troops from withdrawing.