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Israeli troops in Hebron crack down after shootings

By AFP - Nov 07,2015 - Last updated at Nov 07,2015

A Palestinian protester hurls stones at Israeli occupation forces during confrontation in the West Bank city of Hebron on Friday (Reuters photo)

HEBRON, Palestinian Territories () — Israeli occupation forces on Saturday blocked exits from the southern West Bank city of Hebron as they launched a manhunt after shooting incidents targeting Jewish worshippers and a soldier.

Two Israelis were shot and wounded on Friday at the flashpoint Ibrahimi Mosque, the army said.

An Israeli soldier was also shot and wounded Friday near the Palestinian village of Beit Anon north of Hebron.

Israel's Shin Bet internal security agency said they had arrested overnight a 16-year-old Palestinian from Bani Naim village east of Hebron, who admitted to carrying out the Beit Anon shooting and handed over the rifle he used. 

Israeli occupation forces were searching Palestinian homes in and around Hebron as well as setting up new checkpoints.

The army also blocked off the northern entrance of Hebron with mounds of earth. The eastern entrance has been sealed off for days.

Activists in the Youth Against Settlements group in Hebron said they were "besieged" in their Hebron office by settlers accompanied by soldiers.

Palestinian TV journalists also said settlers disrupted their broadcasts, following which there were confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli occupation forces in downtown Hebron.

Two Palestinians were wounded by live fire, Palestinian medics said.

Israeli human rights group B'Tselem on Friday criticised the army for carrying out "immoral and unlawful" measures which it said hinder Palestinian freedom of movement in Hebron, including closing off the Tel Rumeida neighbourhood.

"These steps constitute collective punishment of residents of Hebron who are suspected of nothing and are forced to suffer serious disruptions in their daily lives," the group said.

Hebron has 200,000 Palestinian residents with approximately 500 Israeli settlers living in the centre, protected by an army-patrolled buffer zone. The situation is a constant source of tension.

 

Friday's unrest broke a brief lull in the wave of deadly attacks and violent protests throughout October that raised fears of a new Palestinian Intifada, or uprising, against Israeli occupation.

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