Europe

Palestinian police disperse rally over Russian Church land

Palestinian police broke up a rally by an Islamic party protesting against the Palestinian government handing land over to the Russian Church.

Police said officers used tear gas on Saturday to disperse hundreds of protesters and arrested 25 of them in the West Bank city of Hebron.

Bahir Saleh, the spokesman of the Islamic Liberation Party, said "this is Islamic land and shouldn't be given to anyone, particularly Russia who is killing Muslims everywhere." Saleh said protesters were sending a strong message to President Mahmoud Abbas against the move.

He said a Russian church was built on land rented for a century from a local Arab tribe 150 years ago. The land should be returned to the family, he said.

Abbas has good relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.