Palestinians attack US tourists mistaken as settlers

A Palestinian protester hurls a rock at Israeli police (unseen) during clashes in the city of Hebron on April 16, 2014 (AFP Photo/Hazem Bader)

Hebron (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) - Palestinians attacked five US tourists driving in the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron on Thursday, hurling a petrol bomb and rocks at their car, police said, apparently mistaking them for settlers.

The visitors, said by Israel's Channel 2 television to be students at a Jewish seminary in Brooklyn, were given refuge by a Palestinian man who sheltered them in his home until Israeli security forces arrived to escort them to safety, the police statement said.

It added that two of the young men were lightly injured and given first aid on the spot.

Channel 2 said the men's vehicle was torched only after they had abandoned it.

The men, wearing the skullcaps of observant Jews, were said to have inadvertently driven into the residential neighbourhood of Jebel Johar while searching for the nearby shrine known to Jews as the Cave of the Patriarchs and to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque and revered by both.

Palestinian security sources said they were mistaken for Israeli settlers by the Palestinians.

About 700 Israeli settlers live in around 80 homes in the tense city centre, surrounded by nearly 200,000 Palestinians and protected by the Israeli army.