Israeli police have removed a large group of illegal Jewish squatters trying to set up makeshift settlement outposts near the West Bank city of Hebron.
Police say at least 150 Israeli youths were evacuated Thursday as they occupied several hilltops sites in the area. Authorities say the youths were removed before they were able to erect permanent structures.
Israeli news reports say several people were injured during the evictions, including a deputy police commander who was hospitalized with an eye injury. Police say at least three of the settlers were arrested.
The Yediot Aharonot newspaper says Army Chief of Staff Dan Halutz was sharply critical of the youths' conduct. The paper quoted him as blaming settler leadership for encouraging what he called "thuggish" behavior by the protesters.
Some information for this report provided by Reuters.