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Israeli forces ransack homes in Beit Ummar, detain minors in Beit Fajjar

Dec. 25, 2016 11:56 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 25, 2016 7:32 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces stormed the southern occupied West Bank town of Beit Ummar and ransacked two homes early Sunday morning, according to local sources, a day after a funeral in the town for 23-year-old Khalid Ikhlayyil was violently suppressed by Israeli soldiers. Meanwhile, at least seven Palestinians, including minors, were detained in raids elsewhere in the West Bank.

Local activist in Beit Ummar Muhammad Ayyad Awad told Ma'an that Israeli troops ransacked the homes of Abd al-Hamid Muheisin Awad and Muhammad Kamil Zaaqiq and searched them thoroughly before dawn Sunday morning.

Awad noted that police dogs were used in the inspection and that an Israeli intelligence officer interrogated the owners to uncover firearms.

The Israeli soldiers left “serious damages” in both houses to the furniture, internal doors, and other items. Awad highlighted that floor tiles had also been ripped out.

After more than an hour, Israeli troops left without seizing any weapons or detaining anyone, Awad said.

An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed to Ma’an that the search had been conducted, and also confirmed nobody had been detained and no weapons were uncovered.

Ikhlayyil was shot dead inside his private car in the al-Baqaa area in Beit Ummar on Oct. 30. Israeli forces alleged that he tried to run over a number of Israeli soldiers.

Israeli soldiers fired tear gas canisters at crowds of mourners during the funeral, and in response, Palestinians youth hurled stones at the Israeli soldiers who fired more tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets injuring a number of people.

According to Awad, 11 Palestinians were hit with live ammunition and 10 others with rubber-coated steel bullets. He added that three Israeli soldiers were also hurt.

Meanwhile, at least seven Palestinians were detained in overnight raids across the occupied West Bank.

Locals told Ma'an that Israeli forces raided the town of Beit Fajjar south of Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank overnight Saturday and Sunday morning and detained three teenage boys and a young man.

Locals identified the detainees as Yazan Ahmad Thawabta, 15, Fadi Fayiz Taqatqa, 16, Anas Taqatqa, 15, and Mahdi Majid Taqatqa, 23.

According to the Israeli army spokesperson, one Palestinian was detained in the Hebron area village of al-Dhahiriya and three in the village of Jalazun in the Ramallah district. In predawn raids Saturday night, Israeli forces detained a Palestinian in al-Zawiya in the northern occupied West Bank district of Salfit, according to the Israeli army.

Israeli raids in Palestinian towns, villages, and refugee camps are a daily occurrence in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem.

According to prisoners rights group Addameer, 7,000 Palestinians were held in Israeli prisons as of October, including some 400 minors. The organization estimates that 40 percent of Palestinian men have been detained by Israel at some point in their lives.
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