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Israeli forces raid Silwad, detain relatives of deadly car ramming suspect

April 7, 2017 5:10 P.M. (Updated: April 8, 2017 5:02 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces raided the central occupied West Bank village of Silwad before dawn on Friday, detaining two relatives of a Palestinian accused of carrying out an alleged car-ramming attack which killed an Israeli soldier a day earlier.

Malik Hamid, 23, was detained on Thursday after his car ran into two Israeli soldiers at an intersection near the illegal Israeli settlement of Ofra in the Ramallah district, killing 20-year-old Elchay Teharlev and injuring the other.

Israeli forces detained Ahmad Moussa Hamid, 52, and Moussa Ahmad Hamid, 17, Hamid’s father and brother during the raid in Silwad, locals said, adding that two other residents -- Muhammad Omar Hamid, 23, and Mutasem Abd al-Majid Hammad -- were also detained.

An Israeli army spokesperson only confirmed one overnight detention in Silwad.

According to Israeli news outlet Arutz Sheva, Israeli forces also confiscated six allegedly stolen vehicles, 40,000 shekels ($10,970) in “terror funds,” as well as the work permits of an unspecified number of Hamid’s relatives.

Arutz Sheva added that the army also took measurements of Hamid’s home, likely in preparation for a punitive demolition.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fast-tracked punitive home demolitions in an effort to “deter” attacks carried out by Palestinian individuals since the beginning of a wave of violence across the occupied Palestinian territory in late 2015.

The move came despite past recommendations by an Israeli military committee that the practice did not deter attacks. Israeli rights group B’Tselem has condemned the practice of punitive home demolitions and work permit confiscations as "court-sanctioned revenge" carried out on family members who have not committed crimes, amounting to collective punishment.

Israeli forces also reportedly prevented Silwad’s mosques from opening their doors for dawn prayer.

Hamid is currently held at the notorious Russian Compound detention center, where the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said he was assaulted and stripped by interrogators.

A PPS lawyer who visited Hamid at the detention center said however that Hamid was not injured.

Seven Israelis have been killed by Palestinians since the start of 2017, while 17 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis during the same time period.

Though Israeli forces have claimed that Palestinians were allegedly attempting to carry out attacks in most of these cases, Palestinians and rights groups have disputed Israel's version of events in a number of instances.

Meanwhile, Palestinians have often cited the daily frustrations, unfettered illegal Israeli settlement expansion in Palestinian territory, and routine Israeli military violence imposed by Israel's nearly half century occupation of the Palestinian territory as main drivers for such attacks.
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