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Scores of Palestinians perform Friday prayers at Beita entrance to protest road closures

Sept. 23, 2016 4:19 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 23, 2016 7:19 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Scores of Palestinians performed Friday prayers at a junction in the northern occupied West Bank village of Beita to protest the closure of the main entrance of the village for the fifth consecutive day.

Beita Mayor Wassef Maalla told Ma’an that the group prayer was an act of protest to demand that Israeli forces reopen roads in Beita, located in the Nablus district, and others linking the village to neighboring Palestinian municipalities.

Maalla said that if the closure continued, residents of Beita and nearby villages would escalate protests starting on Monday by carrying out marches on main roads.

Israeli forces closed the main entrance to the village of Beita on Monday night with huge concrete blocks and earth mounds, as well as other side roads near Beita and the nearby village of Huwwara.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that following “repeated” stone-throwing on Israeli settlers’ vehicles on the road adjacent to Beita and Huwwara, several roads between the two villages were being closed “in order to curtail threats.”

Palestinian sources told Ma'an that Israeli authorities had notified the Palestinian liaison office that all the roads which had been reopened two weeks earlier for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha would be closed again.

The occupied West Bank has seen an increase in military road closures since October, when a wave of unrest first erupted across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel, with 230 Palestinians killed by Israelis and 32 Israelis killed by Palestinians since, resulting in periodic military blockades of Palestinian villages, towns, checkpoints, and entire districts.

Israel has come under harsh international condemnation for its response to alleged attacks, which rights groups have said amounted to “collective punishment” and represents a clear violation of international law.

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