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Israeli forces close checkpoints, impose curfew near Nablus

Nov. 22, 2015 8:46 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 22, 2015 8:48 P.M.)
Israeli forces fire tear gas during clashes next to Huwwara checkpoint south of Nablus on May 16, 2015. (AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh/File)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Sunday evening imposed a curfew on the village of Huwwara south of Nablus and closed the village's key checkpoint in addition to Beit Furik checkpoint east of Nablus.

Awwad Najim, a Fatah spokesperson in Huwwara, told Ma'an that Israeli forces had carried out the measures after saying that several Molotov cocktails were thrown at settlers' vehicles travelling through the village.

Hawwara lies along Route 60, a central artery of the northern West Bank that serves as a major thoroughfare for both Palestinians as well as Israelis living in illegal settlements.

Locals said that Israeli forces also detained 13-year-old Hamid Jasir Hamid Hamayel from Beita village at Zatara checkpoint south of Nablus. The boy reportedly suffers from several medical conditions.

The checkpoints were reopened about an hour later, locals said, after huge traffic congestion was reported.

However, it was not clear whether the curfew had been lifted, and a Palestinian activist group, the International Solidarity Movement, said that as of 8.15 p.m. Israeli forces were still keeping stores shut, in what the group described as "collective punishment."

The group added that one local shopkeeper was "threatened with pepper spray" after he argued with Israeli forces over the closure of his store.

An Israeli army spokesperson had no immediate information on the reports.

Due to its sensitive location, Huwwara's residents frequently clash with both Israeli soldiers and settlers, and Israel's army has sealed two major checkpoints to the village's south and north on a number of occasions since a wave of unrest swept the occupied Palestinian territory last month.

Earlier on Sunday, an Israeli settler ran over a 16-year-old Palestinian girl close to Huwwara checkpoint before shooting her dead, saying that he believed she was about to carry out a stabbing attack on soldiers at the checkpoint.

The settler was later identified by Israeli media as Gershon Mesika, the former head of the Samaria Regional Council, which represents Israel's illegal settlements in the northern West Bank.
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