Israeli forces have evicted Jewish settlers who took over two buildings in the heart of the West Bank city of Hebron near an important shrine holy to both Jews and Muslims.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says troops removed 80 people who had moved into the buildings the day before and closed access to the sites.

Supporters of the group said the settlers had entered houses that were bought legally.

About 850 Israeli settlers in Hebron live in heavily-guarded enclaves, surrounded by tens of thousands of Palestinians.

Much of the animosity in the biblical city is over a sensitive holy site known to Jews as the Tomb of the Patriarchs and to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque. Many Palestinian attackers over the past four months of bloodshed have been from Hebron.