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PA official: Israel using 'tripwire explosive device' around settlements

Feb. 24, 2016 10:07 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 25, 2016 12:22 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces have reportedly been implementing a 'tripwire explosive device' to prevent Palestinians from approaching areas near illegal Israeli settlements and roads in the occupied West Bank, a PA official said Wednesday.

Issa Ghuneimat, Director of Operations at the PA’s Palestinian Mine Action Center, told Ma’an that the device operates as “a trap targeting Palestinian citizens.” A tripwire attached to the device explodes on impact, producing large amounts of light, according to the official.

“They use this device instead of having a 24-hour-a-day military patrol. When it goes off, military patrols will see the light and rush to the area,” Ghuneimat said.

Though the device is intended to emit light in order to notify Israeli forces that someone is approaching, Ghuneimat said that when detonated, the device “releases shrapnel that could kill if they hit a human body directly.”

The official highlighted what he said was Israel’s potentially fatal use of the device, which is not clearly marked, comparing the tactic to the use of landmines.

According to Ghuneimat, one of the devices was recently found in Salfit district in the central West Bank, as well as in the car park of a stadium in the Bethlehem-area al-Khader town.

A Palestinian intelligence officer last week said a “suspicious object” was found adjacent to al-Khader football stadium. The PA’s military liaison office reportedly contacted its Israeli counterpart, and the device was removed shortly after by Israeli forces.

An Israeli army spokesperson was unable to confirm the reports at the time.

Ghuneimat said the stadium -- like many areas where the devices are used -- is located in Area C, where Palestinian security forces are unable to enter without coordination with the Israeli military which has full control over the area.

While the explosive devices do not hold the destructive power of landmines, the PA official said the West Bank used to be littered with landmines, used during Israel’s illegal takeover of the area from Jordan in 1967.

Ghuneimat said that the PA’s Palestinian Mine Action Center launched a project in 2014 to clear all landmines in the occupied West Bank, which has so far removed at least 210 mines from the Bethlehem-area town of Husan and Nabi Elias in Qalqilya.

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