Massive Incursion in Beit Ommar, More Than 50 Arrested, Village Under Curfew
At approximately 1 am this morning over 100 soldiers and more than 2 dozen jeeps, humvees, and APC’s invaded Beit Ommar. They came with two bulldozers and first closed the street connecting Beit Ommar to the neighboring Palestinian area of Saffa. They also closed off all areas near the Karmi Tsur settlement and blocked dirt paths in the area that farmers use for their tractors. Seven streets in total have been closed off.
The Israeli Occupation Forces announced a village-wide curfew and stated that anyone leaving their homes would be shot. They then began making house to house searches, arresting men, ransacking homes, breaking down doors and ordering residents out into the streets. A shop near the entrance to the village near the military watchtower was also demolished.
International activists from Christian Peacemaker Teams arrived in the morning and along with PSP attempted to observe some of the damage. They were shown a map declaring the entire village was a ‘closed military zone’ and were told they had to leave immediately. The army also distributed papers throughout the village saying that they were planning for a week-long curfew. Ambulances and all media have been stopped at the entrance to the village and denied entry.
Young men, many under the age of 18, defied the curfew and went out, throwing stones at the jeeps. They were met with a barrage of tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets. Some were arrested, blindfolded, and taken into the Karmi Tsur settlement. Their current location and the location of the other approximately 50 residents arrested throughout the early morning and day are currently unknown.
An Israeli military spokesperson said this assault in the village was in response to an attack on the nearby settlement by two residents of Beit Ommar, both of whom were killed during their attempted attack more than two weeks ago. Since that time, Beit Ommar has been attacked nearly every day, with 1 youth killed, dozens shot, and now over 50 arrested. This is the largest-scale invasion Beit Ommar has seen in years.
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