Illegal Israeli settlers on Saturday set fire to Palestinian lands in central West Bank on Saturday, leading to an extensive area being burned, an official said.

Lafi Adib, the mayor of Turmus Ayya village in Ramallah, said “settlers set fire to lands belonging to the villagers, and we cannot control the fire.”

“The fires are still burning strongly over tens of dunams (1 dunam= 0,24 acre) in agricultural areas, while Palestinian civil defense teams are unable to contain it,” he added.

He said “settlers have been preventing villagers from accessing their lands for months, resulting in overgrowth of weeds in olive groves.”

According to data from the Israeli non-profit Peace Now, nearly half a million Israelis live in 146 large settlements and 144 smaller outposts established in the West Bank, excluding occupied East Jerusalem.

The settlers and Israeli forces have escalated their raids, arrests and attacks since the Gaza war, which began in October.

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