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Israeli forces detain 20 Palestinians in predawn raids across West Bank

July 18, 2017 2:01 P.M. (Updated: July 18, 2017 4:21 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces carried out multiple predawn military raids across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem overnight Monday, detaining at least 20 Palestinians and enforcing a closed military zone around one village, with a number of raids sparking clashes.

Palestinian security sources told Ma'an that Israeli forces raided the old quarter of Askar refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank city of Nablus and detained Palestinian journalist Radwan Abd al-Qadir Qadamani.

Israeli forces also raided the northern mountain area of Nablus and detained Muhammad Bahjat al-Khalili, the Palestinian security sources said.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that a total of four Palestinians were detained in Nablus, and claimed two of them were “Hamas operatives.”

In Tulkarem in the northern occupied West Bank, local sources said Israeli forces detained 22-year-old Ahmad Muhammad Shihab and that another Palestinian man from the Tulkarem area was detained at the Innab Israeli military checkpoint in the district.

In the village of Tammun in the northern Tubas district, Israeli forces detained Imad Bani Udah, according to locals.

In the northernmost occupied West Bank district of Jenin, Israeli forces detained al-Yamoun residents Abdullah Abu al-Heija and Abdullah al-Jaabari. The two, according to local sources, were detained at a military checkpoint that Israeli forces set up at the entrance to the village.

The Israeli army spokesperson said that one Palestinian was also detained in the northern West Bank city of Qalqiliya.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces reportedly raided the village of Azzun, east of Qalqiliya city, and declared the town a closed military zone, official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

Witnesses told Wafa that Israeli soldiers were preventing Palestinians from entering or leaving the village, as all connecting roads to Azzun were sealed with military blockades.

Local pedestrians and commuters reported being subjected to arbitrary security checks, while a number of homes were also raided, sparking clashes with Israeli soldiers who fired stun grenades and tear gas at protesters, according to Wafa.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they were “aware of reports” of the closed military zone in Azzun, but said she could neither confirm or deny them.

In the nearby Salfit district, one Palestinian was detained in the village of Haris and another in the village of Qira, the army spokesperson said.

Elsewhere in the central occupied West Bank, Israeli forces detained one Palestinian from the Ramallah area al-Jalazun refugee camp, and two people in the town of Abu Dis in the Jerusalem district, according to the Israeli army.

Wafa also reported that the Israeli army raided the town of Beit Ummar in the southern Hebron district, sparking clashes with locals.

Israeli forces raided the Beit Ummar home of Jamil Masharqa looking for his 25-year-old son Khaldoun, Wafa quoted local activist Muhammad Awwad as saying.

When Israeli soldiers failed to find the young man, they informed the father that his son had until later Tuesday to turn himself in at a military outpost set up at the entrance to the town.

During the raid, residents clashed with the soldiers, throwing rocks at them, and soldiers responded by firing tear gas at homes, causing several suffocation cases, according to Wafa.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they were looking into reports of the raid.

She added that Israeli forces also detained one Palestinian in the Hebron area town of Beit Ula, and another in the village of Qila.

Israeli forces had also delivered a notice to Hazem Jamil al-Jaabari to meet with Israeli intelligence after raiding his home in Hebron City. 

Meanwhile, Israeli police forces also raided a number of areas in occupied East Jerusalem overnight. According to police spokesperson Luba al-Samri, one Palestinian was detained in Silwan, during a raid in which one Palestinian was shot and injured, while two others were detained in Issawiya.

Israeli raids in Palestinian towns, villages, and refugee camps are a daily occurrence in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

According to a joint report released by a number of Palestinian rights groups on Sunday, Israeli forces detained a total of 388 Palestinians, including 70 minors and 13 women, across the occupied Palestinian territory during the month of June.
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