Israeli forces target Hebron in overnight raids, close main bypass road

03:00 Jun 13 2016 Hebron

HEBRON (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces detained five young Palestinians during predawn raids Monday in Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank. Meanwhile, Israeli authorities reportedly closed the Hebron district’s only exit Monday morning for a bicycle race for Israeli settlers.

Locals identified the detainees as Muntasir Asaad al-Juneidi, Ammar Yasser Qawasma, Faris Khalil Qawasma, Ahmad Jalal Juneidi, and Rami al-Heimoni.

An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed to Ma’an that two Palestinians were detained overnight in Hebron for being suspected Hamas operatives. She added that two further detentions were made in the northern district of Nablus, and another two in the southern district of Bethlehem, all for suspected “illegal activities.”

Separately, Israeli forces Monday morning closed the only road connecting Hebron to other districts in the occupied West Bank. The bypass road, known as route 60, was reportedly closed to hold a bicycle race for Israeli settlers.

Israeli forces set up military checkpoints preventing Palestinian vehicles from leaving Hebron. Locals highlighted that the Hebron area villages of Bani Naim, Sair, and al-Shuyoukh were also isolated from Hebron city.
Palestinian sources said the closure would continue until 1 p.m.

An Israeli police spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment on the incident.

Hebron and its surrounding villages, specifically Yatta, have been the targets of increased raids and Israeli military presence in the wake of the deadly shooting in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, and the subsequent revelation that the alleged attackers and relatives came from Yatta, south of Hebron.

Immediately following the attack, which left four Israelis dead and multiple injured, Yatta was sealed by Israeli forces, with Palestinians forbidden to leave except for humanitarian or medical cases, and the Israeli army detained an unspecified number of locals during large-scale overnight raids there.

The indefinite siege on Yatta remained in force as of Monday, according to the Israeli army.
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