Radical Jewish settlers attacked an army base and staged protests in a closed military zone on the Jordan border overnight, sparking a sharp condemnation on Tuesday from the Israeli premier.
In the early hours of Tuesday morning, around 50 settlers forced their way onto a key army base in the northern West Bank and vandalised military vehicles there following rumours troops were about to evacuate settlement outposts, the military said.
Several hours earlier, some 30 settlers broke into a Christian baptismal site in a closed military zone along the Jordanian border to stage a protest.
Both incidents were swiftly condemned by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who ordered the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) "to act aggressively" against anyone attacking Israeli troops.
"This incident must be completely condemned. The security forces need to concentrate on defending our citizens and not on such outrageous lawbreaking," he said in a statement.
An army statement said the early-morning attack had targeted the Ephraim base near the northern town of Qalqilya.
"Overnight, approximately 50 rightwing activists infiltrated the Ephraim regional division headquarters, set fire to tyres and damaged vehicles with stones, bottles of point and by placing nails on the road," it said.
"In addition, rocks were thrown at the Ephraim regional division commander's vehicle. The commander was not injured," it said, condemning the attack.
Police said two people were arrested in the wake of the attack which took place after rumours reportedly began circling in the settler community that troops were poised to dismantle several outposts set up without Israeli government permission.
In the earlier incident, settler activists broke into the Qasr al-Yahud Christian baptismal site along the Jordan border to protest against Muslim opposition to the closure of a controversial ramp leading to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City.
Seventeen people were detained for questioning, police said.
Well, this is very disturbing. If a group of Palestinians had attempted to swarm an IDF base, the soldiers would have opened fire and rightly so. There would have been a whole bunch of dead Palestinians. Now the bar has been raised, since there are no dead Jews in this incident, if Palestinians were to attempt such a swarm, the IDF would have to handle them with the same kid gloves they used on this swarm of Jewish thugs and terrorists.