Israeli forces have intensified a lockdown on the occupied West Bank’s most populous city of al-Khalil (Hebron) and surrounding villages after two Israelis were killed in separate attacks allegedly carried out by Palestinian attackers.
On Sunday, Israeli military forces closed the checkpoint linking the town of Sa’ir, located 8 kilometers (5 miles) northeast of al-Khalil, and the tomb of Prophet Jonas (Nabi Yunus), allowing the local residents to pass through only after they have had their identity cards and/or vehicles checked.
Israeli soldiers also carried out a series of operations across al-Khalil and arrested six people.
The Israeli army announced in a statement that forces had arrested the 22-year-old Lara Nasser Tarayra after a raid on her home in the town of Bani Na’im, located 8 kilometers (five miles) east of al-Khalil.
Her 19-year-old brother, Mohammed, purportedly broke into the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba on the outskirts of al-Khalil last Thursday, and killed 13-year-old Israeli-American Hallel Yaffa Ariel in her bedroom before being shot dead by Israeli forces.
The other five Palestinian detainees came from the Fawwar refugee camp, located six kilometers (3.7 miles) southwest of al-Khalil, as well as nearby areas.
On Saturday night, Israeli forces closed several checkpoints near the northern occupied West Bank town of Nablus as extremist settlers had organized a protest on the road leading to the Huwwara checkpoint.
Israeli soldiers close a barrier blocking the road at a southern entrance of the occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron), July 2, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority official, said Israeli soldiers sealed the Huwwara, Yitzhar, and Beit Furik checkpoints after settlers threw rocks at Palestinian cars.
A Palestinian man, identified as Ya’qub Sawalha and a resident of the Azmut town, which lies five kilometers (3.1 miles) northeast of Nablus, sustained injuries after settlers smashed his car windows.
The development came only hours after two young Palestinian men were shot and injured and several others suffered from teargas inhalation during clashes with Israeli forces in the town of Dura, located 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) southwest of al-Quds.
Israeli settlers swarm in front of Maghraba Gate to storm al-Aqsa Mosque
Meanwhile, dozens of extremist Israeli settlers have swarmed in front of Magharbe Gate to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of al-Quds (Jerusalem), in their latest act of violence against the third holiest site in Islam.
Israeli police forces closed the gate, preventing the settlers from entering the sacred site.
Extremist Israeli settlers stand in front of Magharbe Gate to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of al-Quds (Jerusalem), July 3, 2016.
Earlier, Israeli authorities have prevented settlers and non-Muslims from entering the al-Aqsa Mosque until the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
The occupied Palestinian territories have been the scene of heightened tensions since August 2015, when Israel imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds.
Palestinians are angry at increasing violence by Israeli settlers at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, saying the Tel Aviv regime seeks to change the status quo of the sacred site.
Nearly 220 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since the beginning of last October.