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Israeli forces violently suppress clashes in sealed Hebron village in wake of shooting

July 10, 2016 12:36 P.M. (Updated: July 10, 2016 7:17 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces shot and injured at least five Palestinians and detained three others in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron overnight Saturday, as Israeli forces continued to impose a strict siege on the village of Sair after an Israeli man was shot and injured while driving his car around midnight near the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Teqoa.

A large number of Israeli forces raided Sair in the predawn hours, closing off the entire village.

Israeli forces closed the al-Adisa al-Duwara entrance of the village, as dozens of troops were deployed in the Wad al-Sharq area in central Sair, where clashes erupted and continued until dawn, with Israeli forces firing live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas canisters, and stun grenades at locals who were throwing rocks.

Local sources told Ma’an that four Palestinians were shot and wounded with rubber-coated steel bullets and dozens more suffered from severe tear gas inhalation. Palestinian Red Crescent medics and volunteers administered first aid on the scene.

Sources in Hebron said Israeli forces carried out searches and seized recordings of security cameras from Palestinian homes and shops in Sair.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that Israeli forces sealed off Sair and imposed security checks in response to a shooting Saturday night, when an unidentified gunman or gunmen fired at a passing vehicle near Teqoa northeast of Hebron, wounding the driver, an Israeli civilian.

He was evacuated for treatment to the Israeli hospital Shaare Zedek Medical, where he was reportedly in moderate condition. She added his vehicle also sustained several bullet holes.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces closed the northern entrances to the district of Hebron in the villages of Halhul, Beit Ummar, and al-Arrub refugee camp, erecting checkpoints and thoroughly searching cars attempting to enter Route 60, the main highway connecting Hebron to the rest of the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that security measures in al-Arrub could have also been related to the shooting.

Israeli forces also raided the Hebron-area towns of Dura, Yatta, al-Samu, Tarqumiya, and the city of Hebron, raiding and searching several houses.

Shadi Ahmad Elayyan was detained from his home in al-Samu, Shadi al-Masri in Tarqumiya, and Mahmoun Muhammad Mutawi in Hebron. Israeli forces also summoned several people in the area to meet with Israeli intelligence for interrogation.

The Israeli army confirmed one detnention was made in Hebron, and another southwest of Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank.

Locals sources added that Bassam Mahmoud Tabish was shot with live fire near the al-Ramadin area in the southwestern outskirts of Hebron under unclear circumstances, and was taken to a hospital in Hebron for treatment.

An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into reports of the incident.

Saturday night’s shooting and Israeli measures in Hebron came as Israeli forces continued to impose general closures throughout the district -- most recently in Yatta -- in response to a shooting attack on July 1 which targeted a family of Israeli settlers driving on Route 60 between their home in the Otniel settlement and the settlement of Kiryat Arba.

As the gunmen were still believed to be at large, Israeli forces continued to restrict passage through several entrances to Hebron to humanitarian and military cases only.

The village of Bani Naim has also been under a complete siege, in response to a series of attacks and alleged attacks last week that were carried out by residents of the village.

Partial lifting of certain roadblocks and checkpoints and the resealing of others in Hebron have been reported in recent days, which the Israeli army said is carried out in accordance with "ongoing military assessments."

Palestinian government spokesperson Yousif al-Mahmoud on Sunday called on the international community to intervene to pressure Israeli forces to lift the punitive siege on Hebron, the largest and most populous district in the occupied West Bank, and stop the “abuse” of the tens of thousands of civilians being punished by the security measures.

Al-Mahmoud termed Israeli actions in Hebron to be “collective punishment,” which he said were in line with the Israeli government's official policy against the Palestinian people, in a grave violation of all international laws and conventions.

The spokesperson reiterated that Israel, by continuing its "abhorrent" policies under various pretexts, such as alleged security concerns, could not hide the fact that the Israeli occupation was the main reason for the continuing tensions and instability in the region.
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