Palestinian village remains closed second day following attack

Published February 5th, 2016 - 02:00 GMT
A member of the Israeli border police aims during clashes with Palestinian protestors in the  town of Qabatiya, near Jenin  on February 4, 2016 (AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)
A member of the Israeli border police aims during clashes with Palestinian protestors in the town of Qabatiya, near Jenin on February 4, 2016 (AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)

Israeli forces on Friday continued to seal the occupied West Bank village of Qabatiya, the hometown of three Palestinians who were shot dead after carrying out an attack that left an Israeli officer dead in Jerusalem earlier this week.

The Jenin-district village has been closed since late Wednesday, hours after the attack took place.

Locals told Ma'an that Israeli forces closed the Khirbat al-Wahid road Friday with bulldozers, cutting off the last opening for movement in and out of the village.

Agricultural roads that locals had been using as detours to cross out of the village were also closed, sealing in Qabatiya's more than 20,000 residents.

Sporadic clashes were ongoing since early Friday between Palestinian youths and Israeli soldiers deployed in the al-Hisbeh area of the village, locals added.

A number of injuries were reported among the youths after Israeli forces reportedly fired rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas canisters in the area.

An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed to Ma'an the continued closure of Qabatiya, saying that all movement in and out of the village was prohibited with the exception of humanitarian cases, "according to security assessments of the area."

Qabatiya erupted into chaos when Israeli forces stormed the the village on Thursday, detaining 10 and injuring at least four with live fire, one critically. A 15-year-old was also left in critical condition after being run over by a military vehicle.

During the raid, Israeli forces notified the families of the three youths who committed Wednesday’s attack that their homes would be demolished.

PLO spokesperson Ali Zakarneh told Ma'an at the time that Israeli forces announced that Qabatiya had been designated a closed military zone, and would remain a closed zone for at least a month.

Israel revoked the work permits for a number of Qabatiya's residents, although the Israeli Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories did not immediately provide any further details.

Qabatiya residents Ahmad Rajeh Ismail Zakarneh, Muhammad Ahmad Hilmi Kamil, and Najeh Ibrahim Abu al-Rub, all in their early 20s, were shot dead on Wednesday after carrying out an attack on Israeli Border Police at the Damascus Gate in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.

One Israeli officer, 19-year-old Hadar Cohen, was shot in the head and later died, while another officer was left in moderate condition with stab wounds across her body.

A Palestinian military liaison in Jenin told Ma'an that the bodies of the three Palestinians would be returned Friday afternoon.

The Israeli military has been enforcing closures on hometowns of Palestinians who carried out or were suspected of carrying out attacks on Israeli military and civilians since a surge of attacks began in October.

Road closures, intensive security checks, and complete blockades of villages or districts have become commonplace, despite criticism that the measures operate as collective punishment.


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