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JERUSALEM — Ultra-nationalist Israelis have taken over a four-story building in the heart of an Arab neighborhood in east Jerusalem, raising fears of fresh violence in the tense area.

A small group of activists from the Ateret Cohanim settler organization moved into the building on Thursday. It was the latest in a wave of settler advances since nationalist Jews began buying up properties in Palestinian neighborhoods two decades ago.

The building is located in Silwan, a neighborhood that is home to several hundred Jewish residents and some 50,000 Palestinians. Israeli soldiers were guarding the latest wave of settlers.

Ateret Cohanim says it legally purchased the properties. Palestinian residents say they have been unfairly evicted or illegally bullied into leaving.

Past takeovers have led to clashes and violent Palestinian demonstrations.