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Israeli forces raid, blockade Ramallah area village after settler vehicle comes under fire

June 7, 2016 11:37 A.M. (Updated: June 7, 2016 8:38 P.M.)
(MaanImages, File)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces raided and imposed a blockade on the village of Deir Abu Mashal in the central occupied West Bank Monday evening after Palestinian gunmen reportedly fired shots at two Israeli settler vehicles in the area, and an Israeli settler returned fire.

Locals told Ma’an that a large number of Israeli forces stormed Deir Abu Mashal northwest of Ramallah and broke into shops and gas stations, seizing hard drives from outdoor surveillance cameras. Witnesses added Israeli soldiers questioned several Palestinian youths in the street.

Israeli forces also set military checkpoints at all the entrances to Deir Abu Mashal, preventing Palestinian residents from entering or exiting the village. According to an Israeli army spokesperson, entry into the village was only being permitted for humanitarian cases.

The Israeli measures came after Palestinian gunmen opened fire at two settler vehicles on the main road near Deir Abu Mashal, which borders the illegal Israeli settlement of Neve Halamish, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an.

She added that one vehicle was hit, with no injuries resulting from the incident. An Israeli settler outside of the vehicles present at the scene then returned fire at the Palestinians, with no injuries reported, and the gunmen fled the scene.

The incident comes after an empty settler bus was reportedly attacked with “steel balls” near Huwwara in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus on Sunday evening, with no injuries reported. Initial reports that the car was attacked by gunmen were later denied by the Israeli army.

Israeli forces responded by closing a road near Huwwara adjacent to the illegal Israeli settlement Yitzhar and taking over 11 Palestinian homes in the village to use as temporary military sites, and threatened to impose more punishment on Huwwara residents, including closing shops, if similar attacks occurred again.

Israeli sources also said on Sunday night that another settler bus was attacked with rocks near the central West Bank village of Hizma north of occupied East Jerusalem, and that the driver was injured. The sources said large numbers of Israeli troops arrived and the bus driver was evacuated to hospital.

Violent confrontation between Palestinians and Israeli settlers are a regular occurrence in the occupied West Bank, with a vast majority of settler attacks against Palestinian residents going unpunished by Israeli authorities.

There are more than 500,000 Israelis living in settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, in contravention of international law.

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