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Checkpoints and closures near Ramallah after Israeli officer stabbed

Dec. 23, 2013 9:24 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 25, 2013 12:58 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces tightened security procedures in the central West Bank on Monday evening after an Israeli security officer was stabbed by an unidentified attacker in a nearby settlement.

Israeli forces closed a checkpoint near the Palestinian village of Jaba southeast of Ramallah to Palestinian cars after reports of a stabbing in Geva Binyamin settlement.

The closure caused major delays for Palestinian commuters on one of the West Bank's busiest north-south roads, although Jewish settlers traveling on the roads were free to pass through the checkpoints.

The Palestinian liaison department told Ma'an that Israeli troops closed the checkpoint between Jaba and Ramallah to Palestinian vehicles for more than two hours. As a result, hundreds of Palestinian vehicles were lined up in both directions unable to travel to Ramallah or to Bethlehem.

Liaison officers added that Israeli forces also erected a flying checkpoint in a mountainous area north of Jericho, inspecting all Palestinian vehicles traveling in the area.

A Ma'an reporter, who was caught traveling from Ramallah to Bethlehem, confirmed that the three-way intersection near the village of Jaba was closed to Palestinian vehicles creating a heavy traffic jam.

Israeli forces maintain severe restrictions on Palestinians' freedom of movement in the West Bank through a complex combination of fixed checkpoints, flying checkpoints, roads forbidden to Palestinians but open exclusively to Jewish settlers, and various other physical obstructions.

At any given time there are about 100 permanent Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank, while surprise flying checkpoints often number into the hundreds.

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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