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Olmert says settlers' attacks on Palestinians are 'pogroms'

Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert described the violence waged by Jewish settlers against Palestinians in Hebron as "pogroms", in reference to the anti-Jewish riots that plagued central Europe in the first half of the 20th century.

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AFP - Israel's acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday slammed what he called "pogroms" carried out by Jewish settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank city of Hebron.

"As a Jew, I was ashamed at the scenes of Jews opening fire at innocent Arabs in Hebron. There is no other definition than the term 'pogrom' to describe what I have seen," he said at the weekly cabinet meeting.

"We are the sons of a nation who know what is meant by a pogrom, and I am using the word only after deep reflection," the prime minister said, quoted by public radio.

Olmert said he has instructed Defence Minister Ehud Barak and the relevant authorities "to do everything possible and to act with all their force to halt this phenomenon wherever the control of the state of Israel is exercised."

On Thursday, Jewish extremists shot and wounded three Palestinians in Hebron, hurled rocks and torched homes, fields and cars, after the forcible eviction by Israeli police of 250 settlers from a disputed house in the city.

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