File photo of an Israeli flag fluttering as the children of Jewish settlers wait for the bus in Migron, in the occupied West Bank (AFP/Menahem Kahana/File)
SALFIT (Ma'an) – Dozens of Israeli settlers on Saturday night blocked a main road in the Salfit-district village of Yasuf in the northern central West Bank and set up a checkpoint where they inspected Palestinian vehicles for several hours, local Palestinian officials said.
Head of the Yasuf village council, Hafith Ubayya, told Ma'an that settlers from the nearby illegal settlement of Kfar Tappuah closed the main road leading to Yasuf village and inspected the vehicles.
Ubayya said that the incident took place close to Tappuah checkpoint, a major Israeli military checkpoint between the Palestinian villages of Yasuf and Zaatara.
Ubayya added that a large group of settlers tried to raid Yasuf and "vandalize properties and attack unarmed Palestinian citizens," but that villagers confronted them and prevented the attack.
He added that locals contacted Palestinian Authority officials asking for protection from the settlers who he said attempted to attack the village "before the very eyes of Israeli occupation soldiers who intervene only to protect the settlers."
An Israeli army spokeswoman said that she was "not aware of any attempt" to set up a checkpoint.
She said that "a group of civilians" living in Kfar Tappuah settlement "were looking for a missing horse, so there was a huge crowd" out on the road and surrounding fields.
A spokeswoman for the Shomron Regional Council, a body representing illegal Israeli settlements in the northern West Bank, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Settler violence has come under international scrutiny after an arson attack carried out by settlers last month in the southern Nablus village of Duma killed an 18-month-old infant and his father. The infant's mother remains in critical condition and his brother left with significant burns.
Following the attack, Israeli human rights group B'Tselem said that the deadly attack has been "only a matter of time," pointing to a culture of impunity for Israeli settlers.
The perpetrators of settler violence against Palestinian civilians and their property -- both inside of Israel and the occupied territories -- are rarely punished, with police closing the majority investigations without an indictment.
Israeli settlers have carried out at least 141 attacks on Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank and their property since the start of 2015, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.