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Israeli forces occupy home in Jenin village

Feb. 18, 2013 2:33 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 4:02 P.M.)
JENIN (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces seized a Palestinian apartment building in Jenin village Yabad on Friday, the third such incident of its kind in the last month, the home-owner told Ma'an.

"At around eleven in the evening on Friday, three Israeli military vehicles arrived and the soldiers moved their military gear to the house as if it was their own," Sami Abu Baker, father of the home's owner, told Ma'an.

"When I went and asked what they were doing, they pointed their rifles at me and demanded that I do not pass the rocks because the area was a closed military zone. They threatened to shoot me if I pass the borders they set," he added.

The soldiers installed cameras around the property, after surrounding the house with barbed wire and rocks, and Abu Baker's relatives from moving in or around the area.

"I live only a few meters away from my brother’s house. I am worried about my sons, especially at night fearing Israeli soldiers might open fire at them," says Imad Abu Bakr told Ma'an.

Israeli soldiers regularly fire rubber-coated bullets and tear gas canisters at Imad's house during clashes with men in the village, he said.

"We had to shout at the stone throwers asking them to go away because tear gas and rubber-coated bullets could hurt our children while they look out from the windows."

A local official in Yabad, Muhammad Abu Baker, asked the Israeli soldiers why they had taken over the property, and were told that they were responding to army orders to prevent young men from throwing stones at settler vehicles on the main road leading to Mevo Dotan settlement.

"The pretext they gave was unacceptable because the house they occupy is 3 kilometers away with olive fields separating it from the main road. Local young men can't go to the main road through the fields because Israeli soldiers are always deployed in the fields," the official said.

The mayor of Yabad, Samir Abu Baker, said he had contacted the liaison department and the International Committee of the Red Cross to exert pressure on the Israeli soldiers to withdraw, but to no avail.
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