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Israeli raid into village in response to alleged rock throwing sparks clashes

Feb. 6, 2017 10:22 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 6, 2017 4:08 P.M.)
SALFIT (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces raided the village of Qarawat Bani Hassan northwest of Salfit in the northern occupied West Bank on Sunday night, causing clashes to erupt between Israeli soldiers and local youth.

Local sources told Ma’an that a number of Israeli forces raided the town, claiming that Palestinian youth from the village had thrown stones and Molotov cocktails at the illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Netafim, which is located just a few hundred meters east of Qarawat Bani Hassan.

Israeli troops fired tear gas canisters and sound bombs as they stormed the small village.

During the incursion, forces raided a local gas station, confiscating all security cameras from the business, and installed a flying military checkpoint at the village's main entrance, preventing residents from entering or leaving the area.

No reports of detentions were made during the raid.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an they were looking into reports.

Night raids by Israeli forces are a daily occurrence in Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank, while Palestinians are routinely imprisoned for throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at Israeli vehicles, with Israeli authorities passing harsh penalties for stone-throwers in recent years.

A Palestinian youth was sentenced to 18 years in prison last month for allegedly throwing a rock at an Israeli vehicle -- representing the harshest sentence ever handed down for stone throwing.

Meanwhile, Israelis who commit similar attacks against Palestinians are rarely detained or prosecuted.

Rights groups have estimated that 500,000 to 600,000 Israeli settlers live in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in contravention with international law.

According to Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem (ARIJ), Israel has confiscated hundreds of dunams of lands from Qarawat Bani Hassan for the establishment of Kiryat Netafim, while the settlement will eventually be separated from the Palestinian village by Israel's illegal separation wall planned to be constructed in the area.

Kiryat Netafim, along with the nearby illegal settlement Barqan Industrial Zone, is inhabited by at least 2,000 Israeli settlers, who have carried out a series of attacks against Palestinian landowners over the years in an attempt to intimidate them and deter them from returning to their lands, according to ARIJ.
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