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The New Arab

Israel troops occupy Palestinian homes to make military base

Israeli forces threatened to impose more punishment on Huwwara residents [AFP]

Date of publication: 7 June, 2016

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Israeli troops sealed off 11 Palestinian homes with barbed wire in the illegally occupied West Bank and turned them into military outposts.

Israeli forces have taken over 11 Palestinian homes close to the West Bank city of Nablus and transformed them into military sites, Maan News reported on Monday.

According to Awwad Najim, the Fatah spokesperson in the village of Huwwara, Israeli forces put barbed wires around the houses on Sunday night and Monday morning, installed cameras and set out military outposts in the area.

Israeli forces threatened to impose further punishment on Huwwara residents - including closing shops - if attacks on vehicles of Israeli settlers in the area take place, Najim added.

These Israeli settlements are viewed as illegal according to international law, and armed settlers have launched campaigns of terror against local Palestinians, which have resulted in murders.

The army's move came after an empty settler bus was reportedly attacked with "steel balls" near Huwwara south of Nablus city on Sunday evening.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Maan that "following an attack yesterday with steel bullets", Israeli forces set up "temporary viewpoints in the area to overlook the road for security measures".

She also confirmed that the structures seized were Palestinian homes, adding that she did not have information on whether Palestinians were residing inside the homes at the time of the raids.

Israeli forces have launched punitive raids on Palestinian homes in recent months.

They have also been demolishing Palestinian homes as part of an ongoing Israeli plan to create a designated military zone, known as Firing Zone 918.

The military's actions have resulted in some of the most extensive demolition programmes in the occupied West Bank in recent years.

Human rights groups have continuously challenged Israel's claim to the land, arguing it is illegal under international law to establish a military zone in occupied territory.

Israeli troops also frequently use "military exercises" to indirectly displace Palestinians from the Jordan Valley.

Residents have been ordered to evacuate their homes during military training operations, which often leave local crops and land belonging to the Palestinian farmers badly damaged or destroyed.

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