Palestinians enter evacuated Jewish settlement, pray at mosque

Israel buried the empty synagogue of an abandoned Jewish settlement on the West Bank under a mound of sand to prevent the building from being ransacked by Palestinians.

Dozens of supporters of the Islamic militant group Hamas climbed atop the mound of soil Tuesday to celebrate the evacuation of Sanur and three other West Bank settlements, completed last month. Israeli troops will continue to patrol the area, in contrast to the Gaza Strip which was handed to full Palestinian control last week.

Dozens of unarmed Palestinian policemen entered Sanur on Tuesday, imposing order among a crowd of hundreds of Palestinians, and trying to prevent scavenging and burning of property. Under an arrangement worked out with Israel, Palestinian police are not permitted to carry arms in the four abandoned settlements.

Some Palestinians prayed at a building that had served as Sanur's second synagogue, but was a mosque before Israel's capture of the West Bank in 1967, said Majdi Alawneh, a Palestinian liaison official with Israel.

In the meanwhile last week, hundreds of Palestinians entered the abandoned West Bank settlement of Homesh, burning trees and scavenging in buildings, the AP reports.

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