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Israeli military seals main entrance to Ramallah-area village

Jan. 16, 2016 12:37 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 17, 2016 11:10 A.M.)
Israeli forces gather where a road block is being set up on a road closed to Palestinian neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, on Oct.14, 2015. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli, File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces closed the main entrance to the occupied West Bank town of Nabi Saleh on Saturday, amid ongoing tension between residents and the military.

Locals told Ma’an that military forces sealed the main road leading into the Ramallah-area town around 8.00 a.m. without prior notice.

An Israeli army spokesperson said that “due to violent riots yesterday, forces temporarily closed a route into the village.”

The spokesperson was unable to confirm the expected duration of the closure, but told Ma’an that reopening the road would be “based on operational assessment” of the area by the military, adding that alternate routes in and out of the village remained open.

A website for the village reported that Israeli forces had raided Nabi Saleh on Friday “firing large quantities of tear gas.” According to the report, a resident was hospitalized after the forces fired tear gas into homes.

Since a wave of unrest spread across the occupied Palestinian territory in October, the entrance into Nabi Saleh has been closed a number of times by Israeli military forces, locals told Ma’an following Saturday’s closure.

The village is one of many Palestinian communities to see increased operations and activity by Israeli military forces implemented in attempt to curb the recent wave of violence.

Roadblocks, temporary checkpoints, and security checks upon entrance and exit into many Palestinian villages and towns are among the increased restrictions, the majority of which being in the Hebron district.

Israel’s security cabinet in November 2015 gave the army the liberty to seal Palestinian villages in the occupied West Bank without first receiving approval from the government.

A senior Israeli official told Israeli daily Haaretz at the time that military commanders would be authorized to independently implement the total closures while “searching for suspected terrorists.”

The military was already carrying out the decision without such approval prior to the cabinet's meeting, the report added.

Following attacks carried out by Palestinian individuals on Israeli military and civilians that began in the military has frequently sealed villages and cities in the area around the attack or hometown of attacker.

Locals have also reported closures following clashes between residents and forces, as well as arbitrary closure to prevent Palestinians from roads used by Israelis and settlers.
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