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Israel declares Hebron street, neighborhood closed military zone

Oct. 30, 2015 7:29 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 30, 2015 8:55 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- The Israeli military issued an order to turn al-Shuhada Street and the Tel Rumeida neighborhood in central Hebron into a closed military zone, preventing Palestinian non-residents from entering the area.

Coordinator of the Youth Against Settlements group in Hebron, Issa Amro, told Ma'an that Israeli forces raided Palestinian homes near al-Shuhada Street and Tel Rumeida early Friday, recording the identification information from all Palestinian residents.

Israeli civil administration officers informed residents that they will be given special permits that will allow them enter and exit their homes, Amro said.

An Israeli army spokesperson was unable to comment on the military order, but told Ma'an that after an increase in attacks in the area, several measures had been taken to prevent future attacks "in accordance with a situation assessment" done by the military.

According to the spokesperson, "13 stabbing attacks have been carried out against Israeli security and civilians, including four foiled attacks."

Israeli daily Haaretz reported that the regional brigade commander in Hebron passed a ban on entrance to the area for male Palestinians between the ages of 15 and 25.

The ban does not apply to local residents and students attending a nearby school who were ordered to use a single checkpoint, Haaretz reported, adding that all stores were forced to close until further notice.

Al-Shuhada street and Tel Rumeida are connected to Hebron's Old City, which has been slowly sealed off to local Palestinians over the last few decades to secure the safety and expansion of Israeli settlers living in the area.

Hebron, segregated into Palestinian and Israeli areas -- separated by tightly-controlled Israeli military checkpoints and security checks -- has been a main flashpoint as violence escalated across occupied Palestinian territory and Israel this month.

Over 15 Palestinians have been killed in the Hebron district since Oct. 1, the majority of cases after alleged stabbing attempts.  

Israeli authorities have decided to deliver the bodies of five Palestinians killed in Hebron to their families, the Hebron district governor said Friday, all of whom were aged 17 or below.

The move -- contingent on "calm" in the area -- came despite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's call earlier this month to hold bodies of alleged attackers, several of which are still being held.

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