Israeli forces raid Palestinian refugee camp in Bethlehem

Published November 19th, 2015 - 08:42 GMT

Israeli forces on Thursday shot and injured two young Palestinian men in Duheisha refugee camp south of Bethlehem during a dawn arrest raid, locals said.

Locals told Ma’an that large numbers of Israeli soldiers stormed the southern West Bank camp ransacking more than 20 homes before detaining 22-year-old Muhammad Nidal Abu Akar.

In response to the incursion, young men and teenagers living in the camp hurled stones and improvised explosive devices at the soldiers who deployed heavily in the streets and on rooftops of buildings.

Israeli soldiers showered the camp and the main street leading to Bethlehem with tear gas and fired live ammunition at the protesters, hitting two in the feet, according to locals.

Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers also fired gunshots at security guards of an UNRWA-affiliated school near the main road.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that Israeli forces entered the camp to make an arrest when dozens of residents attacked the soldiers with rocks and firebombs.

The forces “called on rioters to halt using riot dispersal means” before firing rubber-coated steel bullets at the crowd, the spokesperson said.

The homes raided by Israeli forces during the incident belonged to former Palestinian prisoners of Israel. A resident living in the area told Ma’an that intelligence officers left summons at the homes demanding the ex-prisoners to report to Israeli interrogation centers for questioning.

Among the homes ransacked by the forces were homes belonging to Salih Jueidi, Bassam al-Hasanat, Khalid Salim, Abdullah Salim, Muhammad Ramadan, Anas Ramadan, Anas Abu Dayya, Wael Khalil and Amir al-Ajouri.

Israeli forces also carried out a detention raid in the Nablus-area village of Tell, detaining at least nine and handing interrogation summons to six others, locals told Ma’an.

Israeli military vehicles stormed the village from different directions after midnight before soldiers entered several homes.

Dozens of young men and teenagers were forced into streets and open spaces in the village, where they were questioned by Israeli intelligence officers, locals added.

Overnight raids of Palestinian areas by Israeli military forces are commonplace in the occupied West Bank, where a weekly average of 82 raids have been carried out since the start of this year, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Clashes often erupt between Palestinian residents and Israeli forces during such raids, resulting in injury to residents and their property.

The Bethlehem-area camp where two were injured early Thursday is one of several areas across occupied Palestinian territory that has seen an increase in regular violence from Israeli forces since the beginning of last month.

Last month, a Duheisha refugee camp resident, Mutaz Ibrahim Zawahreh, 27, was shot and killed by Israeli forces during a demonstration at the Israeli separation wall near the entrance of Bethlehem.

Near-daily clashes between Palestinians and Israeli military forces broke out at the wall last month, and have continued into November.

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