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Israel rescinds permits, puts Ramallah-area village on lockdown following deadly attack

June 17, 2017 11:36 A.M. (Updated: June 19, 2017 7:20 P.M.)
Israeli forces raid Deir Abu Mashal on June 17 (Photo: Ibrahim Ata)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Following a deadly attack in occupied East Jerusalem on Friday, Israeli authorities have revoked permits issued to Palestinians to enter Jerusalem and Israel, while Israeli forces raided and put the occupied West Bank village of Deir Abu Mashaal, the home of the three Palestinian attackers, under complete lockdown -- sparking clashes that left at least three Palestinians shot and injured.

Meanwhile, reports have emerged that a number of Palestinians were injured, assaulted, and detained by Israeli forces immediately following the attack.

All three of the Palestinian attackers, who were armed with knives and an automatic weapon, were shot dead by Israeli police on the scene near Damascus Gate of the Old City in Jerusalem. A 23-year-old Israeli police officer was killed in the attack, while a number of other bystanders were injured.

According to Ma'an documentation, 33 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers since the start of 2017, while eight Israelis have been killed by Palestinians during the same time period.

Israel rescinds all permits for Palestinians to enter Jerusalem and Israel

Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said in a statement on Friday night that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had approved a decision to rescind all permits issued for Palestinians during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr, a Muslim holiday following Ramadan, in response to the attack.

The Israeli government increases its issuance of permits for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank during Ramadan in order for Palestinians to visit their family members in Jerusalem and Israel and pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem.

According to Israeli daily Haaretz, special Friday visitations during Ramadan for Palestinian men above the age of 40, women of all ages, and children younger than 12 years of age from the West Bank would continue as normal.

The statement highlighted that the decision was made after Netanyahu consulted with Israel’s Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan, chief of Israeli police Roni al-Sheikh, and other senior Israeli officials.

Israeli forces put Ramallah-area village under lockdown and prepare for punitive demolitions

Shortly after the attack on Friday night, Israeli forces surrounded the hometown of the three slain Palestinians, Deir Abu Mashaal, northwest of Ramallah city, according to Palestinian sources.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health identified the slain attackers as Adel Hassan Ahmad Ankoush,18, Baraa Ibrahim Saleh Taha, 18, and Usama Ahmad Dahdouh, 19.

Locals told Ma’an that Israeli forces set up military checkpoints in the village and prevented residents from leaving or entering the area.

An Israeli army statement confirmed that authorities had imposed a closure on Deir Abu Mashaal, and would only permit "humanitarian cases" to enter or exit the village, adding that the Israeli permits of the family members of the three attackers were revoked by Israeli authorities, including long-term work permits.

Deir Abu Mashaal Mayor Imad Zahran told Ma’an on Saturday that Israeli forces raided the homes of the three slain Palestinian youths and took measurements, while Israeli soldiers informed the families that their homes would be demolished soon -- an Israeli policy used against family members of Palestinian attacks, which rights groups have deemed a form of “collective punishment.”

An Israeli army statement confirmed that Israeli forces "conducted geometrical surveys" on the homes of the three attackers in preparation for punitive demolitions. The statement added that Israeli forces had also inspected the homes for weapons.

Zahran confirmed that “fierce clashes” broke out in the village during the raid, adding that two Palestinians were shot with live ammunition in the legs and another Palestinian was struck with a live bullet. Dozens of Palestinians, he added, suffered from tear gas inhalation during the clashes.

The Israeli army statement noted that one young Palestinian "suspect" was detained during the raids, while Israeli news site Ynet quoted a military sources as confirming that at least four Palestinians were shot in their lower extremities.

According to Zahran, Israeli forces confiscated 40 vehicles, most of which were unregistered, he added. However, the Israeli army statement reported that Israeli soldiers had confiscated 22 vehicles from the village.

Zahran said that Israeli forces had withdrew from the village on Saturday, but remained stationed behind an iron gate installed at the village’s only entrance.

Israeli forces had also distributed fliers in Arabic to residents, notifying them of upcoming military activities in the village, Zahran said. According to the fliers, the military activities would include home inspections, detentions, and military checkpoints in the village, and warned of possible traffic jams owing to Israel’s activities in the area.

Zahran also mentioned that Palestinian high school students who were scheduled to take the Tawjihi exams -- important examinations students must undergo at the end of high school in the Palestinian territory -- were permitted to leave to the nearby villages of Shuqba and Kharbath to sit for the exams after interventions by the Palestinian liaison and the Palestinian committee of civil affairs.

Palestinians injured and detained following the attack

As reports have continued to emerge regarding the deadly attack, Palestinians told Ma'an that a number of bystanders were injured and some 10 Palestinians were detained by Israeli forces around the Old City following the attack.

Several Palestinians were injured by shrapnel from bullets shot by Israeli forces, who witnesses said shot “haphazardly” in every direction during the attack. Among the injured was a young man from Jerusalem who was shot in the spine and kidney, according to witnesses.

The Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance service told Ma’an that its teams had treated one person who was injured by shrapnel in the foot and three others who suffered from tear gas inhalation after Israeli forces fired tear gas into the crowds.

Meanwhile, witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli forces and police officers had detained at least six young men following the incident and “assaulted” Palestinian bystanders.

Israeli forces had detained three Palestinian bystanders near Herod's Gate in the Old City after allegedly assaulting them, according to witnesses. Israeli forces also fired stun grenades to disperse bystanders and passersby who were exiting through the gate after finishing prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Three other Palestinian bystanders were detained in Musrara neighborhood and on Nablus street in East Jerusalem where Israeli forces had also fired stun grenades at Palestinians in the area.

Meanwhile, all shop owners in Musrara and Sultan Suleiman streets near the site of the attack were forced to close their shops following the incident.

According to witnesses, Israeli forces also stormed the al-Maqasid hospital at the Mount of Olives reportedly in search of a young Palestinian man who was shot in the Damascus Gate area. Witnesses added that Israeli forces were deployed outside the hospital and were inspecting vehicles.

Witnesses added that the bodies of the three Palestinian attackers remained on the ground until late evening hours, while Israelis inspected the bodies and took photos of them.
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