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4 Palestinian youths in al-Ram injured with live fire as clashes erupt with Israeli soldiers

Oct. 11, 2016 8:19 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 12, 2016 7:10 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Four Palestinian youths were injured with live fire Tuesday evening when clashes erupted in the town of al-Ram in the occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem between Israeli forces and Palestinian youth amid ongoing raids in the community in the aftermath of a deadly shooting attack on Sunday.

According to a Ma’an reporter, clashes broke out at the main entrance of the town, as Israeli soldiers “heavily” opened live fire at Palestinian youth, reportedly targeting their legs and knees, injuring four.

An Israeli police spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.

The raid came two days after a deadly shooting attack in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, which left an Israeli police officer and an Israeli woman killed before the attacker, Misbah Abu Sbeih, was shot to death by Israeli police.

A resident of Silwan, Abu Sbeih was banned from the whole of East Jerusalem for a month recently, after he had already been banned from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque for six months, forcing him to move in with his family in the village of al-Ram.

In July, he was also issued a travel ban until the end of the year.

Al-Ram has experienced ongoing detention campaigns and heavy security restrictions since the attack.

Israeli forces earlier Tuesday raided a building in the town belonging to the family of Abu Sbeih, amidst an ongoing crackdown on the gunman’s family, town, and surrounding neighborhoods, according to witnesses and Israeli authorities.

Israeli troops stormed the building at 4 a.m. on Tuesday and broke into all four apartments in the building.

The soldiers rounded up all family members in one room "at gunpoint and did not allow them to talk or move," according to witnesses.

Soldiers then searched every room, "damaging the family’s belongings," while other soldiers took photos and measurements of the apartments, seemingly in preparation for an impending punitive demolition of their homes.

The soldiers also threatened to storm the building again if the summoned family members -- including three of Abu Sbeih's brothers and three of his uncles -- did not show up for questioning, although Abu Sbeih’s father maintained that they were not told where or when they should go.

The family also said that Israeli soldiers threatened to revoke their Jerusalem IDs.

Separately, Israeli forces sealed a sweet shop and other stores in the same building belonging to Abu Sbeih’s father.

The family added that Israeli forces also raided another building which belonged to Misbah Abu Sbeih and his brother Jabir in the Kafr Aqab village in the Jerusalem district, although no family members were present at the time.

Witnesses to the incident told Ma’an that soldiers blew open the main doors to the building.

Israeli soldiers also took indoor and outdoor measurements of the homes at the time, "using laser techniques and digging holes in the walls," according to the family.

They added that Israeli soldiers removed posters, flags, and photographs of Abu Sbeih which had been hung on the walls in al-Ram at the time, and interrogated youth in the area regarding who had printed the images and where.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri confirmed in a statement Tuesday morning that Israeli forces had sealed off the sweet shop in al-Ram belonging to the Abu Sbeih family.

Al-Samri claimed in her statement that the candy store had “been used for incitement,” saying that "inciting video footage encouraging terrorism was filmed inside the shop."

In addition, she said, flags belonging to the Hamas movement were hanging from the store, making it a “center for encouraging terrorism.”

The extensive closures and intensified security announcements came in the wake of a massive detention campaign across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, detaining at least 56 Palestinians in overnight raids, with more than two thirds of the detainees coming from the Jerusalem area.

Israeli authorities have come under repeated criticism for carrying out large scale detention raids, limiting the freedom of mobility of Palestinians, and punitive home demolitions -- what many human rights organizations have called “collective punishment” -- in response to attacks.

Their actions have been condemned by rights groups, who have said the measures amount to “court-sanctioned revenge,” and represent a clear violation of international law.
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