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Official: Israel rounds up Palestinian workers in Bartaa

June 26, 2013 12:34 P.M. (Updated: June 28, 2013 11:18 A.M.)
JENIN (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces rounded up over 100 Palestinian workers early Wednesday in Bartaa Sharqiya, a village in the northern West Bank, a local official said.

A large Israeli force surrounded Bartaa Sharqiya shortly after midnight and searched homes, looking for workers, said village council member Tawfiq Qabaha.

Israel's separation wall surrounds Bartaa Sharqiya, cutting the village off from the rest of the West Bank. As the village lies in the seam zone, Palestinians need a special permit to enter Bartaa Sharqiya, although its residents have West Bank IDs.

Many workers with West Bank IDs sleep in Bartaa Sharqiya to avoid having to cross the wall to enter Israel.

Qabaha said Israeli forces took more than 100 workers into custody, including some who had valid permits to work in Israel but not to reside in Bartaa Sharqiya.

Some Palestinians with permits to work in Israel sleep in Bartaa Sharqiya to avoid waiting for hours at Israeli military checkpoints everyday.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said soldiers conducted a "routine activity" in the village searching for people without permits to be there.

She said some Palestinians were transferred for security questioning but could not say how many.
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