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Israeli forces shut down Hebron in search of missing settlers later found in Jerusalem

May 3, 2017 12:39 P.M. (Updated: May 3, 2017 2:11 P.M.)
(File)
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities closed all entrances of Hebron city in the southern occupied West Bank early Wednesday in search of three Israeli settlers who had went missing and were later found in Jerusalem.

Palestinian security sources told Ma’an that Israeli forces raided several buildings, stores, and houses on Bir al-Sabe street and the surrounding area, where they confiscated surveillance camera recordings.

Israeli forces also confiscated surveillance camera recordings from areas surrounding the nearby Bab al-Zawiya area in central Hebron city.

According to the Palestinian security sources, Israeli authorities reported that three settlers were missing in the Hebron area after entering Bir al-Sabe street from al-Shuhada street at around 2 a.m. Wednesday.

The three settlers were later found in Jerusalem, and Israeli forces reopened the entrances of Hebron.

An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the reports, adding that the three settlers -- who she said were teenagers -- were “found safely in Jerusalem.” She did not immediately provide comment on the harsh security measures imposed on Palestinian locals amid the search, and said she would investigate the matter further.

Hebron's Old City has been divided into Palestinian and Israeli-controlled areas since 1997 when a protocol was signed by Israel and the Palestinian Authority following the Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre in 1994.

Some 800 notoriously aggressive Israeli settlers now live under the protection of the Israeli military in the Old City, surrounded by more than 30,000 Palestinians.

Palestinian residents of the Old City face a large Israeli military presence on a daily basis, with at least 20 checkpoints set up at the entrances of many streets.

On al-Shuhada Street, Palestinians have had their homes and shops on the street welded shut, and are not allowed to drive, or, in some areas, walk.

Meanwhile, Israeli settlers can move freely on the street, drive cars, and carry machine guns in the Old City.

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