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Israel detains 4 Palestinians for alleged drive-by shooting at illegal settlement

Aug. 6, 2017 12:34 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 7, 2017 10:56 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces detained four Palestinians from al-Jalazun refugee camp in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah on Sunday after they allegedly carried out a drive-by shooting at the entrance of Israel’s illegal Beit El settlement, also located in Ramallah.

The Israeli army said in a statement that the four Palestinians -- three of whom were identified by locals as Ibrahim Abu Kharma, Muhammad Ramadan Elayyan, and Karam Makhlouf Nakhla -- had shot live fire with a Carl Gustav submachine gun while driving pastan Israeli army post at the entrance of the Israeli settlement of Beit El on Saturday night. No injuries were reported in the incident.

Hebrew media reported that the entrance to Beit El was closed following the incident.

The Israeli army subsequently raided the al-Jalazun refugee camp during dawn hours on Sunday to detain the four alleged shooters, causing clashes to break out between Palestinians and Israeli forces, according to locals. The Israeli army described the detainees as a Palestinian “cell.”

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an she would look into reports on additional details of the detentions and clashes in al-Jalazun.

Meanwhile, Hebrew sites added that Molotov cocktails were also thrown at Israeli settler vehicles near Israel’s Ofra settlement in Ramallah around the same time as the shooting. No one was injured in the incident.

Israeli forces temporarily closed the “DCO” checkpoint located next to Beit El on Sunday, two days after it had last been reopened following a nearly week-long closure.

Witnesses said Israeli soldiers had placed plastic barriers in the middle of the road in both directions. When a Ma'an photographer tried to take pictures of the closed checkpoint, Israeli soldiers asked him to go away.

Israeli settlements have been the target of actual or alleged Palestinian attacks since a wave of increased violence erupted in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory nearly two years ago. The settlements are considered illegal under international law, and larges swathes of Palestinian land have been confiscated for their development.

While many Palestinians see such attacks as legitimate resistance against Israel’s decades-long occupation of the Palestinian territory and its illegal settlement enterprise that has dissected the contiguity of the territory, Israeli leaders have instead pointed to Palestinian “incitement” as the main drivers for such attacks.
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