Today the village of Awarta, the Palestinian village located closest to the illegal settlement Itamar which witnessed the murder of an entire settler family this morning, was put under severe military restrictions. According to the village council, 19 people are still in custody after the Israeli military raided the village early this morning. Around 8 am the Israeli military cut off the roads to the village, preventing anyone from entering or leaving. Around 25 people were arrested in total, among them a 14-year-old boy.
When the soldiers entered the houses to arrest people they flipped over furniture, smashed windows, threw sound grenades and shot bullets in the air.
Around 3 pm the soldiers returned a second time to search houses of the families who’s sons had been arrested. They forced the families to stay outside under armed guards for an hour while about 20 soldiers with dogs entered their houses. As they had done in the morning, the soldiers turned the houses completely upside-down, destroying the electricity by cutting the cables to the fuse box, and polluting the drinking water by throwing mud in the water-tanks. Computers and phones were destroyed and money and property were stolen by the soldiers. Once again the soldiers threw sound grenades inside and outside the houses.
While the soldiers were searching the houses, the families, including women and small children, were forbidden to drink or eat.
It has been reported that an 80-year-old woman who suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure was beaten by the soldiers. She was taken to the Rafidia hospital in Nablus.
Around 6 pm the soldiers left the village, but residents of Awarta are scared that settlers will attack again during the night. No one knows if or when the army or the settlers will return to the village.
The families of the men and boys that were arrested do not know where their sons, fathers, and brothers are or when they will come home.
Even though this kind of systematic collective punishment is illegal according to International law, it is frequently used by the Israeli military all over the West Bank and in Gaza.
Israeli sources reported that an unknown assailant, presumed to be Palestinian, attacked a family of Israeli settlers in their house in Itamar settlement late Friday night. Israeli authorities have called the murder of the family, which included a 3-year old and a baby, a terror attack.
The area around Itamar settlement in the northern West Bank, near the city of Nablus, has been the site of a number of recent attacks against Palestinians by Israeli settlers and soldiers in the last several weeks, including the beating, stoning and shooting of Palestinians with live ammunition by Israeli settlers.
Friday night’s attack was carried out by an unknown attacker who is presumed to be a Palestinian, and Israeli soldiers streamed into the settlement following the attack and set up a perimeter. The troops then invaded several nearby Palestinian villages and set up checkpoints along nearby Palestinian roads.
According to Israeli media reports, the victims were killed while sleeping in their beds, and include a mother, father, 11-year old, 3-year old and an infant. Another child, 12, reportedly managed to escape to a neighbor’s house to call for help.
The details of the attack are still unclear, and the assailant is still at large. Initial reports indicate that the killer was acting alone, with no connection to any Palestinian group.
If the attack was carried out by a Palestinian with a political motivation, this would mark the largest single attack on Israeli civilians in six years. Israeli forces have killed over 1200 Palestinian civilians in the last six years.
NABLUS — Villages across the West Bank have reported raids by settlers following the murder of five Israelis early Saturday morning in Itamar settlement.
A three-month old baby girl, two children aged three and 11, and their parents were all stabbed to death in a brutal attack which has been blamed on Palestinians.
As Israeli forces launched a manhunt across the northern West Bank, residents of several Palestinian villages said they were stormed by angry settlers.
In Burin, near Nablus, village council head Ali Eid said residents of the illegal Bracha settlement raided the village.
Settlers entered Maher Mahmoud Hassen’s home and tried to take his children, who managed to escape, Eid said.
Settlers also entered the homes of Najeh and Hatem Tawfiq E’mran, he added.
Residents of nearby Huwwara also said they were harassed by settlers, who tried to enter Palestinian homes in the eastern side of the town.
Town officials called on residents to gather in the area to protect the homes in a call over the loudspeakers of the local mosque.
Residents responded to the call, and settlers left the area.
Meanwhile in Hebron, settlers threw rocks at a Palestinian Authority civil defense vehicle, smashing the wind screen and injuring the driver, police said.
Ibrahim Abu Sabha sustained head injuries from the shattered glass as he drove between Yatta and Al-Musafer villages in the southern West Bank district.
In the central West Bank village of Beitillu, residents said settlers handed out leaflets threatening residents that their lives were at risk.
Settlers distributed the statement signed by “the Jews from the land of Israel” at the village entrance, locals said.
Israeli forces have detained dozens of Palestinians since the attack in Itamar settlement. Several military checkpoints have been reinstalled and flying checkpoints set up across Nablus. Locals said the army has declared the district a closed military zone.
Israel’s military had no immediate comment.
Tensions between Palestinians and settlers have escalated since the Israeli government removed structures at an illegal outpost west of Nablus on February 28.
Settlers responded to the demolition immediately, firebombing a home in Huwarra. Two children were taken to hospital suffering smoke inhalation.
Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition at Palestinians during clashes with settlers near Nablus on Monday, injuring 10 Palestinians, medics said. One settler was injured by a rock, a spokesman for settlers said.
Settlers also smashed shops and cars and cut down olive trees in Hebron.
On March 3, settlers organized a “day of rage” rallying in Israel and the West Bank and threatening further attacks against Palestinians.