Israeli army sets up checkpoints around Hebron, search continues for shooting suspects

Published November 9th, 2015 - 11:45 GMT

Israeli forces on Monday set up flying checkpoints across the southern West Bank district of Hebron, as a search continued for suspected Palestinians who shot and injured two Israelis in Hebron's Old City last week. 

Locals told Ma'an that a flying checkpoint was set up on the main road between Hebron and the town of Halhul to Hebron's north, where Israeli soldiers stopped Palestinian vehicles and inspected passengers.

Another checkpoint was set up at the entrance to al-Fawwar refugee camp south of Hebron, and another on al-Haraeq junction near the illegal settlement of Beit Haggai.

Witnesses said they saw long queues of vehicles waiting for Israeli soldiers to inspect them and allow them to pass.

Israeli forces also set up a checkpoint on Wadi Sair road east of Hebron, causing heavy traffic, witnesses said.

Separately, Israeli forces on Sunday stormed the home of Hamza al-Amla from Beit Ula, who was shot dead by Israeli forces on Oct. 20 after he allegedly attempted to run over Israelis at a bus stop in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc.

Family members told Ma'an that Israeli soldiers took measurements inside and outside of the house, and told the family they "would come back to demolish the house." 

In the town of al-Shuyoukh near al-Arrub refugee camp, Israeli forces stormed the offices of an Islamic charitable society after pulling out the main door. The soldiers seized files, money, computers, printers, and surveillance cameras, locals told Ma'an.

An Israeli army spokesperson said she was looking into the reports. 

Hebron district has found itself at the center of violence since a wave of unrest swept the occupied Palestinian territory last month. 

More than 20 Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli forces and settlers in Hebron during the period, the majority after allegedly attempting attacks on Israelis. On Friday, three Israelis were injured in two separate shootings across the district.

Israel says it has arrested the attacker responsible for one of the attacks outside Beit Einun, but is still searching for suspected Palestinians who shot and injured two Israelis near the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron's Old City.

Israeli rights group B'Tselem last week condemned the Israeli army's actions in Hebron, writing: "There has been no 'normal fabric of life' in Hebron for many days, and the measures taken in the name of security are draconian and not dictated by reality." 

The group said that road closures to villages across the district "constitute collective punishment of residents of Hebron who are suspected of nothing and are forced to suffer serious disruptions in their daily lives."

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