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Israeli forces close off Hebron's old city, block entrance to Palestinian medical center

April 10, 2017 10:15 P.M. (Updated: April 11, 2017 10:47 A.M.)
HEBRON (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces stationed in the Old City of Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank closed the entrance to the Palestinian Health Work Committees’ emergency center on Monday, leaving patients and ambulances unable to reach the center.

According to locals, the closure was conducted in line with a series of procedures that Israeli forces routinely take in the Old City during Jewish holidays. Monday’s closure saw all entrances leading to the Old City shut down with iron gates and cement blocks, including the only entrance leading to the medical emergency center.

The entrance leading to the center was closed with an iron gate, which prevented anyone from reaching or leaving the center, including those in need of medical care.

Locals told Ma’an that the center has been “subjected to all types of aggression by Israeli forces over the years,” highlighting that it had been raided multiple times, and used by Israeli forces as a military post, notably for soldiers to fire tear gas and live fire at Palestinians during clashes or protests in the area.

In response to Monday’s closure, a spokesperson from the center told Ma’an that the center “will stay present in the area and will continue providing medical care to more than 60,000 Palestinians, despite all Israeli forces and settlers violations and aggressions against it.”

An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into the reports.

Earlier on Monday,
Israeli forces temporarily closed all entrances to the city of Hebron around noon, while tightening military procedures on bypass roads in the northern, eastern and southern parts of the city.

Local sources told Ma’an that Israeli forces installed iron gates at some of the entrances to the city, while also erecting checkpoints and checking the identity cards of Palestinians passing through.

An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed to Ma'an that the roads had been closed, but said early Monday evening that they had since been reopened.

Severe restrictions on movement for Palestinians are typically implemented by Israeli authorities during Jewish holidays for alleged security purposes.

Meanwhile, such policies have been strongly criticized by rights groups for amounting to collective punishment, while blocking Palestinians who work in Israel and Jerusalem from accessing their jobs, exacerbating economic suffering in the territory.
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