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25 Palestinians detained in raids, as Israeli forces close main Hebron entrance

Aug. 2, 2016 11:06 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 2, 2016 7:20 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma’an) -- At least 25 Palestinians were detained in raids from Monday evening to the early morning hours on Tuesday, as Israeli forces stormed multiple villages and cities across the occupied West Bank, and sealed off the main road to the southern city of Hebron.

Israeli forces raided the Hebron-area villages of Sair, Surif, and Dura around dawn on Tuesday, where they detained five young Palestinian men.

Locals in Surif told Ma’an that Israeli troops stormed the village and surrounded the home of Ahmad Muhammad Hussein Abu Farah and fired gunshots at the house.

The soldiers then summoned Abu Farah over the loudspeakers to walk out and turn himself in, to which he complied. The soldiers then took Abu Farah into custody and transported him to an unknown location.

Another young man from Surif identified as Marwan Mahmoud al-Heeh was also detained from his home after Israeli soldiers broke into the house.

In the town of Sair, locals said Israeli troops detained Musab Izzat Shalalda, 30, after breaking into several homes in the area.

Israeli troops also stormed the eastern village of Dura, where they detained two young men identified by locals as Muhammad Ibeyush and Ayman Tbeish, and ransacked the home of Muhammad Faqih.

The soldiers also confiscated a private vehicle which belonged to Faqih, who was killed last week when Israeli forces bombarded a home with bulldozers and anti-tank missiles while he was inside, concluding a weeks-long manhunt after a deadly shooting attack last month.

Faqih, from the city of Dura, was accused of carrying out a drive-by shooting on July 1 south of the illegal Israeli settlement of Otniel in the Hebron district, which left one Israeli settler dead and three injured.

In the wake of the shooting -- which occurred within 48 hours of a series of deadly incidents in Hebron that left one Israeli girl killed in her home, her attacker shot dead, and another Palestinian woman killed by Israeli forces in a separate incident, the entire district was placed under the most extensive lockdown in the West Bank since 2014.

Israeli forces also detained a number of Faqih's relatives in recent detention raids.

Following Faqih’s killing last Tuesday, which occurred in the village of Surif where he had been hiding, Israeli forces began to ease the large-scale military closures nearly a month after they were imposed.

However, a reported iron-gate closure of the main northern entrance of Hebron on Monday evening marked a turning point in what seemed like a lift on mobility restrictions in the largest and most populous district of the occupied West Bank. Witnesses also said that Israeli forces had set up several military checkpoints across the city of Hebron to inspect vehicles.

An Israeli army spokesperson said she was looking into reports of additional checkpoints.

Meanwhile, the Israeli army spokesperson office confirmed two detentions in Surif, claiming they were Hamas operatives, one detention in al-Samu south of Hebron, and said she was looking into reports of the main road closure.

The Palestinian Prisoner's Society (PPS) released a statement citing two more detentions in the Hebron district, and identified the detainees as Muhammad Breweish and Muhammad Daghamin.

According to locals, Israeli forces also stormed the village Farun south of Tulkarem in the northern occupied West Bank on Monday evening, where they detained four young men.

Local council member Amir Awad told Ma’an that after Israeli troops ransacked several homes and internet cafes in the center of the village, they detained Shadi Talat Theimir, 27, Muhammad Ayman Salameh, 22, Anas Ahmad Ubeid, 31, and his brother, Hamza Ahmad Ubeid, 24.

Witnesses said a group of undercover Israeli forces entered the village in a civilian vehicle where they attacked a house and blew up its main door.

Shortly thereafter, large numbers of Israeli military vehicles stormed the village near the separation wall, to seemingly provide back up to the undercover officers.

Palestinian security sources said the undercover officers and soldiers were on a mission to detain Malik Ahmad Ubeid, for reasons they did not specify.

The mission reportedly failed as Ubeid was not in the home, and Israelis forces then reportedly detained his two brothers Anas and Hamza. The sources highlighted that it wasn't the first time Israeli forces had failed to detain Ubeid.

Locals from the village of Anabta east of Tulkarem said Israeli forces broke into home of 34-year-old Mahmoud Muhammad Abu al-Asal around dawn time and detained him.

An Israeli army spokesperson said she was looking into reports of the raids and detentions in Farun, adding that Israeli forces detained one Palestinian near Nablus, one in Beit Liqya in the Ramallah district, one in the town of Hizma in the Jerusalem district, and one in Deir Nidham near Ramallah.

PPS identified three detainees in the Ramallah district as Najib Mafarja, Yousif al-Khatib and Fathi Hammad. They also identified three detainees from the Bethlehem district as Badr Abu Jalghif, Raed Ayish and Abd el-Halim Najajra.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Israeli forces conducted a weekly average of 81 search and detention operations across the occupied territory since the beginning of the year.

Prisoners’ rights group Addameer put the number of Palestinians who were held in Israeli prisons at 7,000 as of May.
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