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Chaos erupts in hometown of 3 Palestinian attackers during Israeli army raid

Feb. 4, 2016 10:37 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 5, 2016 3:54 P.M.)
JENIN (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Thursday stormed the West Bank district of Jenin's Qabatiya village, the home of three Palestinian youths who were shot dead the day before after killing a 19-year-old Israeli police officer and seriously injuring another.

Israeli forces shot and wounded four Palestinian youths with live rounds during the raid, critically wounding one who was shot in the head, local Palestinian Liberation Organization spokesperson Ali Zakarneh said.

He added that Israeli forces also ran over a 15-year-old boy, identified as Mujahed Zakarneh, with a military jeep. leaving the boy in critical condition.

The five youths were all evacuated to a nearby hospital for treatment, Zakarneh said.

Israeli forces also raided the family homes of the three youths who committed the attack and notified the families that their homes would be demolished, requesting that they evacuate their belongings in preparation for the demolitions.

An Israeli army spokesperson said "in accordance with the government's directives, forces entered the village in order to asses the localities of the residences' of the three assailants who killed a border police officer in Jerusalem (on Wednesday)."

Locals reported that Israeli forces raided and ransacked dozens of other homes in the village.

Zakarneh said Israeli forces announced during the raid that Qabatiya had been designated a closed military zone, and would remain a closed zone for at least a month.

Forces sealed all entrances to the village with dirt mounds, completely preventing passage in or out of the village, which has a population larger than 20,000.

The Israeli spokesperson said "security measures have been taken in the village in accordance with situation assessments, which means entrances and exits are closed with exception of humanitarian cases."

At least 10 Palestinians were detained during the raid, as well as two others outside the village.

Of the 10 who were detained in Qabatiya, seven were identified as Mutasem Mahmoud Suleiman, 17, Mumen Nasri Abu al-Rub, 22, Ahmad Bilal Abd al-Afu Nazzal, 17, Sari Muhammad Abu Ghrab, Ahmad Rashed Abd al-Jalil, as well as one of the attackers' father, Ahmad Hilmi Kamil and brother, Tareq Ahmad Hilmi Kamil .

In addition to the 10, Israeli forces also detained Ahmad Ali Ahmad Zakarneh, a Qabatiya resident who was detained while trying to cross into Jordan at Allenby bridge and a secretary of the Fatah movement, Hussam Izzat Nayif Dhun, 38, from the nearby village of Fandaqumiya.

An Israeli army spokesperson only confirmed five detentions in the village.

The three Palestinians who were shot dead after attacking two Israeli police officers on Wednesday were identified as Ahmad Rajeh Ismail Zakarneh, Muhammad Ahmad Hilmi Kamil, and Najeh Ibrahim Abu al-Rub.

The three youths had attracted the attention of Israeli Border Police officers as they approached Damascus Gate, Israeli police said.

They were stopped, and as one showed their identification card, another pulled out a gun and opened fire, fatally wounding a female officer, later identified as 19-year-old Hadar Cohen.

Another officer, said to be 18 years old, was left in moderate condition with stab wounds across her body.

Explosive devices were later found near the site, which was cordoned off following the attack, Israeli police said.

Israeli media reported that two of the three were barred from entrance into Israel and that all three had crossed Israel's separation wall illegally.

Israeli media reports also said that none of them were affiliated to any political organization.

A wave of attacks carried out by Palestinian individuals on Israeli military and civilians first began in occupied East Jerusalem in October before later spreading to the West Bank.

Efforts by actors in the international community to quell recent violence and return Israeli and Palestinian leadership to negotiations have so far failed.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon meanwhile last month criticized Israeli policy, saying that it was "human nature" for Palestinians to react violently to Israel's nearly 50-year military occupation.

Ban condemned the series of violent attacks carried out by Palestinians in recent months, but said that Israeli security measures were failing to "address the profound sense of alienation and despair driving some Palestinians -- especially young people."
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