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Settlers burn mosque amid West Bank blackouts

Extremist Jewish settlers set fire to a mosque in the southern West Bank town of al-Jaba west of Bethlehem in the small hours of Feb. 25, locals told Ma'an News Agency. As worshipers arrived around 4:30 AM to prepare for the dawn prayer at al-Huda mosque, they saw smoke and flames rising from inside the building. Worshipers alerted neighbors and together they joined forces until they managed to put out the fire.  Racist slogans calling for killing Arabs and Muslims were sprayed on the walls in Hebrew. The Palestinian foreign ministry said the attack was tantamount to "an official declaration of religious war," the official WAFA news agency reported. "This new attack is a sign of the mounting violent extremism within Israeli society." The attack coincides with the 21st anniversary of the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre in Hebron when an extremist US-born Jew, Baruch Goldstein, opened fire at Muslim worshipers at dawn prayer. The attack killed 29 people and injured more than 120. (Ma'an)

The Israel Electric Corporation meanwhile notified the Palestinian Northern West Bank electricity company that it would briefly disconnect the grids which supply the cities of Nablus and Jenin for an hour. Head of the Palestinian-run Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCO), Youssef al-Qaram, said that the company had no outstanding debts and was unsure why Israeli authorities took the decision to cut power to two major Palestinian cities.

It is the second time this week that Israel has cut the power supply to the major northern Palestinian cities. On Feb. 23, the Israel Electric Corporation disconnected the grids to Nablus and Jenin for 45 minutes. Ghassan al-Shakaa, chairman of the board of directors of tNEDCO, said that the Israeli company disconnected the grids as a penal procedure for unpaid bills, despite there being no accumulated debts. (Ma'an)

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