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U.S. Diplomats in Standoff With Israeli West Bank Settlers

JERUSALEM — Jewish settlers threw stones at the cars of a U.S. diplomatic delegation which came to inspect vandalism to nearby Palestinian-owned trees in the occupied West Bank on Friday, Israeli police said. The U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv and consulate in Jerusalem had no immediate comment on the incident outside Adei Ad settlement, which caused no casualties.

An Israeli police spokeswoman said the delegation did not coordinate the visit with Israeli authorities. She said the purpose of the trip was to inspect nearby trees that had been uprooted in what their Palestinian owners suspect was vandalism by Jewish settlers. "Rocks were thrown at them by residents of Adei Ad. We are investigating. Arrests have yet to be made," the spokeswoman said.

An Adei Ad resident who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity said that he had not witnessed the incident but was told by fellow settlers that the U.S. delegates came within 50 yards of the settlement in two diplomatic cars accompanied by local Palestinians. He declined to confirm or deny that the settlers threw stones, but said two armed diplomatic guards briefly emerged from the cars. "One had a pistol, the other an M-16, and they pointed them at the settlers," the resident said. Asked about this account, the Israeli police spokeswoman said: "We have no indication that anyone in the U.S. delegation brandished weapons."

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— Reuters