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Israeli soldiers raid Bethlehem-area village

Dec. 28, 2016 7:45 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 29, 2016 11:42 A.M.)
(File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Hundreds of Israeli soldiers raided the village of Wadi Rahhal south of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank Wednesday afternoon, local sources told Ma'an.

Tens of Israeli military vehicles and hundreds of soldiers deployed in the village's streets, with locals saying that four Palestinian youth were briefly detained by Israeli forces before being released an hour later. Israeli forces then retreated from the village.

An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into reports.

The raid came amid a crack down on Palestinian villages in the area in search for the suspect who allegedly carried out a stabbing attack on an Israeli in the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Efrat, leaving the settler lightly injured.

Israeli troops had also installed military checkpoints at roads in Wadi Rahhal, forcing residents to commute to work on foot by hiking through fields.

The crackdown in Wadi Rahhal coincided with widespread military closures on roads and villages in the district of Ramallah, in the wake of two separate shooting attacks that left one Israeli settler lightly wounded while the second resulted in no injuries.

Israel’s response to attacks and alleged attacks, such as arbitrary detentions and road closures, have been widely condemned by rights groups, who have said such measures amount to “collective punishment” and represent a clear violation of international law.
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