Awarta village closed for 4th day

Published Mar 15, 2011 16:31


Soldiers search fields east of Awarta on 12 March [MaanImages/Rami Swidan]

NABLUS (Ma’an) — Awarta village remains under an Israeli military curfew for the fourth day in a row Tuesday, as residents report constant door-to-door searches, with some homes targeted at least three times.

Witnesses said soldiers could be seen dotting the hilltops around the village, as armored vehicles patrolled the streets.

An early morning food delivery from the municipality of Nablus appears not to have been delivered to all residents of the town, which according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics has over 5,000 inhabitants.

Dutch journalist Lydia de Leew, traveling with medics from the Union of Health Care Committees, told Ma’an that they were waiting for permission to enter the village, after hearing reports that an Israeli sniffer dog had attacked a child.

Clashes with settlers from the northern West Bank were reported near the town of Huwwara, about four kilometers southwest of Awarta. There have been no reports of injuries.

Awarta has remained under closure since Israeli forces began the search for those behind the murder of five members of the Fogel family, settlers from the nearby Itamar settlement who were stabbed to death in their beds on Friday night, Israeli reports said.

Israeli officials immediately pointed the finger at Palestinians, calling the murders a “terrorist attack.”

Palestinian officials said two members of the security services were detained by Israeli forces from the village, but Israel has put a gag order on details of the investigation.

Residents say the situation in Awarta is deteriorating, as the village remains on lock down.

Muhammad Raja Awwad told Ma’an on Tuesday afternoon, that a search of his home resulted in the destruction of the family’s furniture, and caused thousands of shekels in damages.

“My wife and children were pushed into one room, and they brought in dogs,” Awwad said.

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