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Palestinian movement prevented in or out of Tulkarem for 3rd day

Dec. 12, 2015 3:56 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 13, 2015 4:30 P.M.)
Israeli forces gather where a road block is being set up on a road closed to the Palestinian neighborhood of Ras al-Amud in occupied East Jerusalem, on Oct.14, 2015. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli, File)
TULKAREM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Saturday maintained for the third day in a row a complete closure of the occupied West Bank city of Tulkarem, Israel's army said.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that Tulkarem remained closed to all movement in or out of the city “except for humanitarian cases.”

The Tulkarem governorate was initially raided by Israeli forces Wednesday night in a search for a gunman who injured a former member of a Jewish terror group, Shaul Nir, and his wife in a drive-by shooting in the area.

By Thursday morning, locals told Ma’an that entrances leading in and out of the city were sealed with cement blocks and mounds of earth.

Surrounding areas were also sealed, including Tulkarem’s eastern entrance near Noor Shams refugee camp, the entrances of Kafa and Dhinnaba villages, as well as the main road between the villages of Shufa and Ezbet Shufa, locals told Ma’an at the time.

Israel’s security cabinet last month gave the military the liberty to seal Palestinian villages in the occupied West Bank while “searching for suspected terrorists,” without first receiving approval from the government.

The military was already carrying out the decision without such approval prior to the cabinet's decision, according to Israeli media.

Israeli military forces have implemented closures over the past two months throughout the occupied West Bank, one of several measures taken in attempt “deter” attacks carried out by Palestinian individuals on Israeli military and civilians.

Such closures across the Hebron district last month were condemned by Israeli rights group B’Tselem as “collective punishment."

Well over 50,000 Palestinians live inside Tulkarem city limits, and the continued closures are likely to affect the movement of the nearly 200,000 Palestinians living in the Tulkarem governorate.
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