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Oct 16, 2:26 PM EDT

More Israeli settlements OK'd in Hebron, says watchdog


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West Bank road

JERUSALEM (AP) -- An Israeli anti-settlement group says dozens of new housing units have been approved in the West Bank city of Hebron for the first time in over a decade.

Hagit Ofran of Peace Now said 31 housing units were approved Monday for the first Israeli construction there since 2002.

About 850 Israelis in the biblical city live in heavily-guarded enclaves surrounded by tens of thousands of Palestinians. Ofran said the new permits raise the settler population there by 20 percent. She said the move will be appealed.

Hebron has been a flashpoint for Palestinian-Israeli violence.

Palestinians claim the West Bank for part of their future state.

U.S. President Donald Trump is more sympathetic to Israeli settlements there than the international community, which considers them illegal.

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