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Israeli army places Yatta village under complete lockdown following attack

Aug. 3, 2017 12:41 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 4, 2017 4:26 P.M.)
A soldier in Hebron city (Charlie Hoyle/MaanImages/File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces implemented a closure on the village of Yatta in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron on Wednesday and raided the home of a 19-year-old resident who had allegedly carried out a stabbing attack at a supermarket in the Israeli city of Yavne, leaving an Israeli man seriously injured.

On Wednesday, a Palestinian teenager, identified as Ismail Ibrahim Abu Aram was detained by Israeli forces after allegedly stabbing a 42-year-old Israeli man at the Shufersal supermarket in Yavne, where the Palestinian teenager and Israeli reportedly worked. On Thursday, Israeli media reported that the injured Israeli was in stable condition after sustaining multiple stab wounds during the attack.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that the Yatta village was put under a complete closure hours after the attack, with Israeli forces blocking all entrances and exits of the village. “All crossings and passages from the village will be permitted for Palestinians only after security checks,” she said.

The spokesperson said that these “security checks” were "routine" and "nothing out of the ordinary." When asked how long such security checks would take before Palestinians are permitted to enter or exit the village, she said "These checks are nothing special; it's not something that takes a long time."

She added that Israeli forces raided the alleged assailant’s home and conducted a search operation overnight on Wednesday. However, the spokesperson said no detentions were carried out, and added that there were no reports of Israeli forces interrogating Abu Aram's family members during the raids.

She also noted that the army did not have any reports on whether any items were found during the raid.

According to Israeli daily Haaretz, the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, said that Abu Aram did not have a background that would constitute him as a “security threat” to Israel. A spokesperson for the Shin Bet told Ma’an he would look into reports on further details of the investigations.

Israeli forces routinely place entire Palestinian villages under closures following actual or alleged attacks, a policy which rights groups have called “collective punishment.”

Other Israeli policies implemented following attacks, such as punitive home demolitions, revocation of Israeli work permits for relatives of assailants, and the withholding of Palestinian corpses, have been decried by rights groups as a serious violation of international law and human rights.

Yatta and the whole Hebron district were placed under an Israeli army closure in June 2016 for more than 40 days after residents from Yatta carried out a shooting attack in Tel Aviv, which killed four Israelis and injured several others. The following day, the entire occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip were put under a complete lockdown owing to the attack.

At the time, Israeli forces carried out frequent raids on the village, while Israel's defense ministry halted any returns of Palestinian corpses to their families in response to the attack.

According to Ma'an documentation, 53 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis since the beginning of the year, 13 of whom have been killed since July 14 during attacks, alleged attacks, or in clashes following protests against Israeli security measures at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Since the beginning of 2017, 13 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians, nine of whom were uniformed Israeli officers and at least three were Israeli settlers residing in occupied Palestinian territory in violation of international law.

Palestinians have often cited the daily frustrations and routine Israeli military violence imposed by Israel's nearly half century occupation of the Palestinian territory as main drivers for political attacks on Israelis.
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