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Israeli siege continues in Hebron, 6 Palestinians detained in overnight raids

July 17, 2016 2:52 P.M. (Updated: July 18, 2016 1:36 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces detained six Palestinians from the Hebron district in the southern occupied West Bank in predawn raids Sunday, as Israeli forces continued to impose strict security measures at the entrances to Hebron and its surrounding villages.

Local sources told Ma'an that Israeli forces raided the towns of Beit Awwa and al-Samu near Hebron city where they searched the homes of residents, and maintained closures to entrances of several other surrounding villages using gates and dirt berms, in addition to erecting several flying checkpoints used to check ID cards of passing Palestinian residents.

Israeli forces raided the Beit Awwa village west of Hebron where they detained Amal Khadir Masalmah, Muhammad Sabri Maluh Masalmah, and Mutasim Faruq Masalmah.

The al-Samu municipality confirmed that Israeli forces raided the town and detained Muhammad Hamid Rawashdah, Muhammad Issa al-Daghamin, and Iyad Musa Salamah al-Daghamin from their homes.

The municipality added that the southern Hebron town remained under siege by Israeli forces, who closed the main entrance and alternative entrances to the village with dirt berms.

Palestinian security sources and locals said Israeli forces also maintained a closure on the entrance to the al-Fawwar refugee camp on the outskirts of the southern village of Dura, and that the northern and southern entrances of Hebron City and the village of Yatta remain closed.

An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed a total of four overnight detentions in and around Hebron on Sunday, and said she was looking into reports of road closures.

Israeli forces have continued to impose general closures throughout Hebron, the largest and most populous district in the occupied West Bank, amid a widespread manhunt for gunmen in two shooting incidents in the district earlier this month.

The recent road and village closures are not uncommon to Hebron since a wave of unrest swept across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel in October that has killed more than 220 Palestinians and some 32 Israelis.

The Hebron area in particular has grown as the epicenter of upheaval, with Israeli authorities severely restricting the movement of Palestinians by declaring the area of Tel Rumeida and other parts of the Old City as a "closed military zone" for several months in November amid dozens of incidents in which more than 40 Palestinians were killed.

Israel’s response to attacks -- such as punitive home demolitions, the sealing of entire villages, mass detention campaigns, and withholding the bodies of Palestinians slain while committing attacks -- has been condemned by rights groups, who have said the measures amount to “collective punishment” and represent a clear violation of international law.

Palestinian government spokesperson Yousif al-Mahmoud last week 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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