West Bank: Israel bans Palestinian movement, raids towns after shooting attack
Israeli troops arrested 18 Palestinians early Monday morning, just hours after Palestinian fighters killed three Israeli settlers in the Gush Etzion region of the West Bank.
The 18 men were reportedly arrested in several West Bank towns. Ten men were stopped in the northern town of Jenin, five from Hebron and three from the town of Betunya, according to Haaretz.
Israeli sources reported that Israeli settlers set fire to a Palestinian store in Hebron in retaliation for Sunday's attack on the settlers, whose ages ranged from 14 to 23. In addition they set fire to a Palestinian food stand in the Gush Etzion region, while some reportedly threw stones at Palestinian pedestrians.
The same sources reported that Palestinians opened fire on Israeli troops in the Balata refugee camp outside of Nablus.
Palestinan vehicle movement banned in West Bank
Meanwhile, Israel on Monday banned the movement of private Palestinian vehicles from traveling along West Bank roads, forcing all Palestinians to use public transportation or other means to travel. The ban was reportedly imposed to prevent attacks similar to that which occured on Sunday.
Israeli Defense Minister Sahul Mofaz told reporters that, “As long as the terror attacks persist Israel will not be able to continue the diplomatic process with the Palestinians."
Israel will also return to its previous policy of encircling West Bank towns to presumably stop possible attacks against Israelis, a policy which had refrained from recently under the framework of agreements with the Palestinian Authority.
© 2005 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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