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Israel deploys heavily near Hebron after disappearance of settlers

June 13, 2014 12:33 P.M. (Updated: June 14, 2014 7:59 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- The Israeli military has sent a large number of military reinforcements to the Hebron district in search of two missing Israeli settlers they fear may have been kidnapped, sources exclusive to Ma'an said Friday.

Israeli forces raided a number of homes in the Sanjar area of Dura, a city southwest of Hebron, on Friday in search of the settlers after they disappeared from Hebron, sources told Ma'an.

The Israeli media has apparently still not reported on the incidents, but unofficial sources said that the two settlers disappeared Thursday evening.

The settlers were able to contact the army before they went missing but the line of communication was reportedly cut. However, the army was able to identify the source of the call as being in the region of Sanjar.

Local sources said that Israeli forces had raided a number of private homes in the neighborhood, although it was unclear if there had been any detentions, and a military reconnaissance plane was reportedly flying over southern Hebron.

Israeli forces had erected checkpoints at Halhul Bridge north of Hebron as well as in the village of Beit Kahil, northwest of Hebron, locals added.

A Palestinian security official told Ma'an that Israeli security forces said no such incident had occurred.

The official said that a car believed to have Israeli license plates was found on fire last night and that civil forces had extinguished the fire, suggesting that the car, which was a Hyundai A35, was related to the disappearance of the two settlers.

Eyewitnesses said Friday that Israeli special forces who were searching the area inspected the car and removed several objects.

Witnesses added that after prayers ended a number of locals gathered in the area, but that Israeli soldiers pushed them away and warned them to stay away from the vehicle.

An Israeli military spokeswoman did not return calls seeking comment.
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