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Israeli forces prevent students from reaching school near Qalqiliya

Dec. 22, 2013 12:14 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 23, 2013 9:38 A.M.)
QALQILIYA (Ma'an) -- Israeli soldiers stationed near a Qalqiliya-area village prevented students from reaching school on Sunday morning, a local official said.

Israeli soldiers stationed at the checkpoint at the entrance to Azzun Atma village in the northern West Bank prevented students from neighboring Beit Amin village from attending their school inside Azzun Atma, chairman of Beit Amin village council Taqi Omar told Ma'an.

He said that on Sunday morning students had left for school in Azzun Atma like on any other day, but Israeli soldiers stationed at the entrance to the village prevented the male students from passing, even as they allowed the female students to go.

Omar added that they had informed the education directorate in Qalqiliya as well as the Palestinian liaison of the incident.

An Israeli spokeswoman did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Although Azzun Atma and Beit Amin are located directly next to each other, the Israeli settlement of Sha'are Tiqwa was built on a small hill between them, thus cutting the villages off from each other.

Azzun al-Atma is encircled by Israeli settlements and restricted zones, much of which are on land confiscated from local farmers. However, the school for Beit Amin students is located inside Azzun Atma, forcing local students to pass through the checkpoint in order to attend.

The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.

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