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Israeli Army Puts Nablus Under Lockdown Following Deadly Shooting Attacks

06:00 Oct 12 2022 Nablus (نابلسs)

Israeli Army Puts Nablus Under Lockdown Following Deadly Shooting Attacks
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Scene in Nablus. Published by Haaretz
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The IDF estimates that most of those responsible for the shootings that occurred over the last week in the West Bank came from Nablus and fled to the city after carrying out the attacks; Palestinian shops and businesses in east Jerusalem shut down on Wednesday to protest Israeli police raids

by Hagar Shezaf, Yaniv Kubovich, Yael Freidson
Oct 12, 2022 11:40 am IDT

The Israeli army closed all entrances to the West Bank city of Nablus on Wednesday, limiting entry and exit to only three locations and requiring a security check.

The decision to block the entrances was based on the army's assessment that most of those responsible for recent shooting attacks in the West Bank were from the city, and fled to it afterwards.

Some of the city's main roads have been blocked with dirt mounds. The army did not confirm how long the blockades would last. Israeli soldiers are stationed outside the city and will only enter if there is concrete evidence that a terror attack is about to take place, according to the IDF.

About 170,000 people live in Nablus. It is one of the largest cities in the West Bank and serves as a regional commercial center. The lockdown of the city is unusual, and expected to significantly disrupt the lives of its residents.

At the same time, the army has not yet decided whether to allow worshippers to enter Joseph's Tomb in Nablus on Wednesday. Mass entry to the site was initially planned, but now it appears that only a limited entry will be allowed and subject to a situation assessment.

On Tuesday, Sgt. Ido Baruch was shot to death at an IDF position near the settlement of Shavei Shomron, north of Nablus. Security footage showed that the shooting was carried out from a passing vehicle. The shooters are still at large.

The Nablus-based "Lion's den" organization, which includes hundreds of young people from various Palestinian organizations, took responsibility for the shooting and said that this was just the beginning of the "days of rage."

Baruch is the second soldier to be killed in four days, after Sgt. Noa Lazar was shot dead at the Shoafat checkpoint in East Jerusalem on Saturday. In the incident, an additional security guard was seriously injured. The hunt for the Palestinian suspect in the shooting continues.

Last Wednesday, IDF and Shin Bet forces arrested a Palestinian suspected of involvement in the shooting attack on an Israeli bus and taxi near Nablus last Sunday. At a demonstration of Israeli settlers held near Nablus after the attack, an IDF soldier was slightly wounded by a shot at the demonstrators.

Palestinians strike in East Jerusalem over police raids

Palestinian shops and businesses in East Jerusalem shut down on Wednesday to protest Israeli police raids in the area that have prompted fierce clashes between police and Palestinian protesters.

Israeli police have been operating in the Shoafat refugee camp in Jerusalem's eastern sector to hunt for a suspect in a deadly shooting attack at a checkpoint on Sunday that killed a soldier.

Police have been combing Shoafat, a hardscrabble camp for Palestinian refugees on the outskirts of Jerusalem, for the suspect, setting up checkpoints and deploying groups of armed officers to question residents. The heavy police presence has sparked intense clashes with local youth. The checkpoints have choked off entry and exit points out of the area, disturbing daily life for residents.

The general strike was called to protest the crackdown. Schools and shops closed across East Jerusalem, including in the Old City, whose colorful stores catering to tourists and locals alike are usually abuzz with activity.

“Showing solidarity with Shoafat means more than a day’s income,” said Anan Sabah, a butcher in the Old City. “The camp has been closed and surrounded for days. We are closed to say that’s collective punishment.”

Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians are at a high, especially in Jerusalem, where thousands of Jewish worshippers are flocking to the flashpoint city to mark the weeklong Sukkot holiday.

AP contributed to this report.
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