Rally in Ni'lin
Photo: AFP

Israel extends curfew in Palestinian town

Restrictions forcing Ni'lin residents to remain indoors response to several violent demonstrations in protest of construction of West Bank security fence

Israeli soldiers extended a curfew for a fourth straight day on Monday in the Palestinian town of Ni'lin in the West Bank, a military official and a resident said.


The restrictions forcing residents to remain indoors around the clock were in response to several violent demonstrations since Friday in protest against Israel's construction of a barrier that would isolate the village.


The West Bank barrier, a network of razor-wire fences and concrete barricades, is intended to keep out Palestinian suicide bombers, Israel says. It also loops around Jewish settlement blocs, cutting off West Bank villages from swathes of farmland.


Four years ago this week, the World Court in The Hague ruled building the 720-km (430-mile) barrier on occupied land was illegal. The United Nations says Israel has ignored that ruling.


An Israeli army spokesman said 8 Israeli security personnel and 2 workers building the barrier were hurt in protests in the Ni'lin area, on the outskirts of Ramallah, over the past month.


Salah Khawaja, a Ni'lin resident and spokesman for the Ni'lin Committee for Resisting the Wall, confirmed to Reuters by telephone that the curfew imposed on Friday was still in force in the town.


Khawaja said troops had fired tear gas and stun grenades on Monday, possibly in response to further protests. There were no immediate reports of casualties.


A military spokesman was checking that report.


Up to 50 people were hurt by tear gas and rubber bullets fired during protests on Sunday, in which an Israeli soldier also was wounded.


Khawaja said townspeople were able to leave their houses for about two hours when the soldiers briefly left the village Sunday night.


He said the army left leaflets saying the closure would remain in place as long as the violence continued.


פרסום ראשון: 07.07.08, 08:22
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