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Israeli closure of Tulkarem continues

Feb. 16, 2008 3:28 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 16, 2008 3:28 P.M.)
Tulkarem - Ma'an - Israeli checkpoint soldiers at the entrance to the West Bank city of Tulkarem prevented Palestinians who reside in Israel from entering the city over the past two weeks.

Two weeks ago Israeli forces closed all entrances leading to Tulkarem, and erected many barriers, especially near Al-Quds University in the city.

A Palestinian woman who was refused permission to cross the checkpoint for medical treatment died on Thursday, a Palestinian doctor and relatives said. An ambulance was waiting for her at the other side of the checkpoint to take her to hospital.

A military official said the soldiers were unaware of the woman's needs because her family did not tell the local military coordination office for humanitarian cases of the ambulance's arrival.

Security sources and eyewitnesses told Ma'an's correspondent that on Saturday Israeli forces tightened security measures even further. They are carrying out inspections of identity cards at military checkpoints and preventing people under the age of 35 from crossing the barricades.

Israeli authorities closed the roads leading to agricultural land west of the town of Bab As-Sahel in the north of the governorate, and imposed strict security procedures after and prevented citizens from reaching their agricultural lands.

The Israeli soldiers stationed a barrier in the Bal'a area, east of Tulkarem where they prevented people from crossing.

Brigadier Talal Dwikat, Governor of Tulkarem appealed the international community and humanitarian organizations to intervene to lift the siege imposed by Israel on the Tulkarem governorate for the second week in a row.

He said in a statement that the situation in the province has become intolerable.

Dwikat said dozens of detainees have been arrested by Israeli forces at military checkpoints. He warned that such practices in Tulkarem will not bring security to Israel. He also called on the people in Tulkarem to be patient and cooperate with each other.

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