Photo: Dudi Vaknin
Settlers removed
Photo: Dudi Vaknin
Photo: Dudi Vaknin
Troops move in
Photo: Dudi Vaknin
Photo: Reuters
Forces prepare for evacuation
Photo: Reuters

Forces clear Hebron home

Police, soldiers storm Hebron home at 6:40 a.m., break through iron door an hour later; three families who illegally occupied house leave voluntarily, dozens of youth settlers removed by force. 17 police officers, seven settlers hurt

(VIDEO) HEBRON – Olmert government's first evacuation operation: Security forces completed the evacuation of families and barricaded settler youths from the illegally occupied Shapira home in Hebron around 10 a.m. Sunday.


Troops were deployed across the West Bank town following the evacuation in order to prevent settlers from disrupting the peace. The IDF prepared to seal off the evacuated structure in order to prevent settlers from returning to the site.


The troops moved in around 6:40 a.m. and attempted to enter the home through the front door. For about an hour, forces were sawing off the iron door at the entrance to the compound and were finally able to break through it at 7:40 a.m.


Forces storm house (Footage: Reuters)


Police officers proceeded to remove equipment placed by settlers on the ground floor in order to allow troops to move in. After breaking through the first door, the forces encountered another door and were working to get through it as well.


Meanwhile, one of the families staying inside the house decided to leave voluntarily. Minutes later, a second family also left on its own, aside from the mother, Tzipi Shlisel, who was forcefully removed by police officers.


The third family also left on its own shortly thereafter, but dozens of youths remained in the house and barricaded themselves in separate rooms for boys and girls.


Wounded Border Guard officer (Photo: Dudi Vaknin)


After being removed, Shlishel took her baby away from her husband and sat down on the ground, yelling out "the country is ruled by a corrupt gang. It doesn't care…it's only concerned about money."


"This army is a foreign army, just the way we felt during the days of the Turks and Brits, but the people of Israel lives forever," she said.


Overall, 17 police officers and seven settlers sustained light wounds in clashes before and during the evacuation. Seven officers were taken for treatment at Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital.


Settlers inside the house threw paint bottles at the forces and hurled insults at them. One settler yelled out: "Is this why you enlisted, to expel Jews? You should be ashamed. The gentiles are expelling Jews." Another teenager yelled at the troops: "Nazis."


Meanwhile, forces clashed with female settlers outside the compound after the latter refused to leave the scene. Far-right activist Baruch Marzel, who also refused to evacuate, was taken in for questioning by police


Evacuation completed (Photo: Dudi Vaknin)


About 1,000 police officers and soldiers wearing helmets and wielding clubs encircled the Shapira house Sunday morning ahead of the evacuation.


Earlier, the troops deployed around the house, took control of its roof, and also occupied roofs around the home. The forces deployed in three rings, with the first two made up of police and Border Guard forces. The third ring is made up of IDF troops protecting the forces and settlers against terror attacks.


Meanwhile, dozens of settlers barricaded themselves inside the house, mostly teenagers who came to offer resistance to the evacuation. 


Area declared closed military zone


Defense Minister Amir Peretz approved Saturday night the operation to remove the settlers from the house. Peretz said women and children must be evacuated first.


On Sunday, Peretz will officially assume the post of defense minister.


At 6:15 a.m., Hebron District Commander Eli Zamir informed those barricaded inside the house the area has been declared a closed military zone and they must leave. Zamir told the settlers they will be forcefully evacuated should they fail to move out.


Saturday night, Hebron settler leader Orit Struk spoke with youths at the site and demanded that they refrain from burning tires as not to endanger lives. Struk was expected to enter the house along with the forces in an attempt to keep the clashes under control.


Earlier, police officers said settlers hurled two Molotov cocktails at them. No injuries were reported in the incident. Settlers at the house also hurled stones at the forces.


Overnight, police detained five settlers, including one that apparently punctured the tires of a Border Guard jeep. The other four detainees were said to hurl burning tires at police officers.


Security forces prepared for serious clashes with settlers and even for extreme scenarios involving settlers or Palestinians firing at troops. Many Magen David Adom ambulance teams are also in the area and are preparing to treat any wounded.


Earlier, the settlers said engineers who examined the home said it could collapse if more than 150 people enter it. Hebron settler leaders also sounded the alarm regarding the results of a violent evacuation.


"About half of all police officers at the site are not wearing badges. Police are preparing to use gas even though there are asthmatic children in the house, and an opinion provided by engineers warns the building may collapse if hundreds of people are inside it." 


Hanan Greenberg contributed to the story


פרסום ראשון: 05.07.06, 07:15
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