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Israeli forces implement closures on Hebron-area village

Oct. 12, 2016 6:48 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 13, 2016 1:16 P.M.)
(MaanImages/Emily Mulder, File)
HEBRON (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces Wednesday closed the main entrance of the village of Beit Ummar in the occupied West Bank district of Hebron and set up several Israeli military posts, a local activist told Ma’an.

Muhammad Ayyad said that Israeli forces closed the large iron gate constructed at the entrance of the village next to an Israeli watchtower that serves as a permanent Israeli checkpoint. The closure prevented residents from marching in a funeral of local deceased woman Mariam Saed Awad, according to Ayyad.

Israeli forces also closed commercial shops in the village and prevented cars from parking or temporarily pulling over on the side of the village’s streets.

Ayyad added that Israeli forces detained Palestinian youths, but did not specify the number, while also closing down a restaurant after attempting to “assault” the local owner.

Ayyad said that Israeli soldier prevented him from taking pictures and tried to confiscate his camera.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an she would look into reports on the closures.

The closures came on the heels of violent detention raids and tightening security restrictions across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank following Sunday’s deadly shooting that left an Israeli police officer and Israel woman killed before the attacker, Misbah Abu Sbeih, was shot to death by Israeli forces.

Beit Ummar is commonly closed amid Israeli detention campaigns following attacks, as the village sits near Israel’s bypass road (Road 60) -- used by Israeli settlers to travel to and from illegal settlements in the West Bank, while also being located near several Israeli settlements.

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.
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