Israelis set Palestinian cars on fire, spray graffiti against Kerry

Israelis set Palestinian cars on fire, spray graffiti against Kerry
Tue Dec 31, 2013 12:03:52

Suspected Israeli extremists have torched three cars belonging to Palestinians in the West Bank town of Jalzoun, police say, apparently in protest at Israel's release of 26 Palestinian prisoners.

The vandals also spray-painted "blood will flow in Judea and Samaria" -- the West Bank -- and "this is war" on the wall of a house nearby, just hours after Israel freed the inmates, Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP on Tuesday.

Samri said the attack in Jalzoun, north of Ramallah, was an apparent "price tag" incident -- a euphemism for hate crimes by Israeli extremists which often involve vandalism and in some cases physical injury.

Another graffitied message read "Hello, John Kerry," addressing the US Secretary of State, who returns to the region this week to boost the faltering negotiations that he kick-started in late July.

Israel freed the 26 Palestinian prisoners under the US-brokered peace talks in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The prisoners were the third batch of 104 detainees that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to let go in four stages when the peace talks were revived in July.

The release shortly after 0000 GMT came after an Israeli court rejected a last-minute appeal by victims' families.

The freed prisoners are hailed by Palestinians as heroes imprisoned for fighting against the Israeli occupation.