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Israeli forces seal off al-Khader village

Jan. 22, 2019 11:25 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 22, 2019 2:32 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces set up military checkpoints and sealed off all the main entrances to al-Khader village, south of the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, on Tuesday morning.

According to local sources, the move to seal off the village came after clashes erupted on Monday night among Israeli forces and Palestinian youths in the al-Khader village.

Sources said that a large number of Israeli forces stormed the village and were deployed across the main streets, leading to clashes with Palestinian youths.

During the clashes, Israeli forces fired tear-gas bombs and sound grenades towards the youths.

The al-Khader village has been sealed off from its southern, northern, western, and eastern entrances, preventing passage of Palestinian vehicles and residents.

It is noteworthy that more than 90% of the al-Khader population resides in areas A and B, which constitute only 14.5% of the total area of the village.

Of the village's historic 22,000 dunams (5,436 acres), about 20,000 (4,942 acres) are almost entirely cut off by the Israeli separation wall and house three illegal settlements, Efrat, Elazar and Neve Daniel, according to the al-Khader municipality.

These settlements, which cover nearly 2,800 dunams (692 acres), are part of a larger block, known as Gush Etzion, which accommodates more than 60,000 settlers.

Once an agricultural village, Israeli settlers have seized large swathes of al-Khader's farmland, and have uprooted olive trees and regularly attack Palestinian farmers trying to reach their land.

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