Israeli Military Operation Continues in Awarta

11.04.11 – 10:53 | PNN

Nablus – PNN – The Israeli military operation targeting the southern West Bank village of Awarta near Nablus continued on Monday for the third consecutive day.

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The head of the village council, Qayes Awad, said that the village still lies under curfew and that soldiers are still conducting regular house-to-house searches of residents’ homes. The Israeli forces invaded the village after midnight on Friday and started a wide-scale search campaign of the residents’ homes.

The village of Awarta was targeted since last month’s killing of five members of a settler family in the illegal Itamar settle, which lies directly above Awarta. The Israeli army and settlers accused the villagers from Awarta of the killing, though no evidence has been provided to support the claim.

Witnesses in the village say troops are taking villagers to a nearby military base, taking their fingerprints and DNA samples. Last week the Israeli army rounded up 200 men and women from Awarta and took them to a military base near Nablus where they took fingerprints and DNA samples. The army says that they are looking for those who killed the settler family in Itamar.

Remaining in Awarta, the head of the village council announced on Monday that the army has started to open a new road around Awarta, taking 250 acres of land owned by villagers to construct a new road for settlers that goes around the village. According to the village council this is not the first time the army has taken farmer’s lands; in the past years the army and settlers have taken farmer’s land to expand the illegal settlement of Itamar, which was originally owned by the Awarta farmers.

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