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Israeli army seals off 4 Palestinian villages as settler lightly injured in attack

Dec. 19, 2016 12:16 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 29, 2016 12:01 P.M.)
Photos by Firas al-Tawil on social media
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces raided four Palestinian villages in the central occupied West Bank districts of Ramallah and Salfit between Sunday night and Monday at dawn, sealing all entrances and preventing residents from leaving their homes.

Locals in Rantis, in the Ramallah district, told Ma'an that Israeli troops raided the village and proceeded to go house to house.

The troops also closed the eastern entrance of the village with concrete blocks and earth mounds, and set up a military checkpoint at the western entrance, preventing all commuters and vehicles from leaving the village.

In Shuqba south of Rantis, Israeli troops similarly raided the village and set up military checkpoints at all entrances, preventing residents from going in or out.

Locals sources confirmed that workers couldn't go to their jobs outside of the villages, while local schools remained closed as a number of students and teachers couldn't reach the area.

On Sunday evening, Israeli forces closed all entrances to the village of Abud between Rantis and Shuqba with concrete blocks.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that they were looking into the reports.

Israeli news outlet Ynet reported that an Israeli settler was lightly wounded when his vehicle was fired at near Abud on Sunday evening, hours after the village was first sealed by Israeli forces.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces stormed the nearby village of al-Zawiya in the Salfit district and ransacked several houses in the town, dislocating doors and breaking windows.

Al-Zawiya Mayor Naim Shqeir told Ma'an that Israeli troops claimed the incursion was in response to youth from the village throwing Molotov cocktails at settler vehicles travelling on Israeli Highway 5.

Palestinians accused of attacking Israelis -- or of being affiliated with alleged Palestinian attackers -- face arbitrary punishments in the form of road closures and the sealing of entire villages, resulting in serious economic consequences and effects on mobility that rights group have labeled “collective punishment,” representing a clear violation of international law.

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