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Israeli forces implement closure on hometown of Netanya attack suspect

July 1, 2016 4:15 P.M. (Updated: July 3, 2016 3:48 P.M.)
TULKAREM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces Friday morning sealed the town of Shweika in the northern occupied West Bank district of Tulkarem after a man from the town allegedly carried out a stabbing attack in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya on Thursday night, according to Israeli and Palestinian sources.

Wael Abu Saleh, 46, allegedly carried out a stabbing attack in Israel that left two Israelis wounded.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that all entrances to the town were sealed, with the exception of urgent humanitarian cases, based on Israeli “security assessments.” The spokesperson did not provide details on how long the closure was expected to remain in effect.

Palestinian security sources told Ma’an that Israeli forces closed the Innab checkpoint in eastern Tulkarem, the major channel for Palestinians to travel to Nablus and Ramallah from Tulkarem.

The Israeli army spokesperson could not confirm that the Innab checkpoint had been sealed by Israeli forces, and told Ma’an she would look into reports.

The family of Abu Saleh told Ma’an that Israeli forces raided their home during predawn hours on Friday, questioned family members, and took measurements of the house for an impending punitive demolition.

Israeli forces also sealed the town of Bani Naim in the southern West Bank district of Hebron hours after a Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli forces when he entered the illegal Kiryat Arba settlement and stabbed a 13-year-old Israeli girl to death on Thursday.

On Friday, a 27-year-old Palestinian woman, also from Bani Naim, was shot dead by Israeli forces after allegedly attempting to stab Israeli border police officers.

Later Friday afternoon, an Israeli family's car was the target of a shooting that left one dead and three others injured 15 kilometers south of Kiryat Arba, with Israeli forces still searching for the shooter. Initial reports from Israeli media indicated that the suspect was also from Bani Naim.

In less than two days, three Palestinians have been killed after allegedly carrying out attacks on Israelis -- and a fourth died during clashes, marking an uptick in violence after a few months of relative reprieve from a wave of violence and unrest which has swept across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel since October, leaving more than 220 Palestinians and some 32 Israelis killed.

Israeli authorities commonly implement punitive measures against Palestinians following attacks on Israeli civilians and military personnel, including imposing closures on Palestinian villages and towns, revoking Israeli-issued work permits for family members of alleged attackers, and demolishing the homes of attackers' families.

Such actions have been condemned by rights group, who have said the punitive measures amount to “collective punishment” and represent a clear violation of international law.

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