Israeli forces detain 2 Qalqiliya men, clash with locals
Published Friday 20/12/2013 (updated) 21/12/2013 11:52
QALQILIYA (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Friday detained two Palestinian young men in the northern West Bank, witnesses told Ma'an.
Locals said that Israeli military vehicles entered the village of Kafr Qaddum east of Qalqiliya at 2 a.m., and that soldiers raided several houses.
The soldiers arrested 21-year old Birzeit University student Ghaleb Hilmi Eshtawi and 20-year-old Muhammad Rajab Jumaa, witnesses said.
Locals said clashes broke out between Palestinians and Israeli forces during the raid, and that soldiers fired tear gas canisters toward houses in the village.
Several Palestinians suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation.
The coordinator of Kafr Qaddum's popular committee Murad Eshtawi said Israeli soldiers raided his house and threatened him with detention.
Soldiers told him they would detain him in the upcoming days unless he stops Kafr Qaddum's weekly protests, Eshtawi said.
A spokeswoman for the Israeli army said there was "normal security activity" in Kafr Qaddum overnight, without providing further details.
The spokeswoman said that after "initial checks," she could not find evidence that the army had "entered any homes" or made any arrests in the area overnight.
She could not confirm whether any clashes took place during the night, but said that a clash did take place Friday morning at 8 a.m.
"There was a line of 100 Palestinians hurling rocks," she said.
Israeli forces dispersed the protest with "riot dispersal means," she added, using the army's phrase for rubber bullets, sound bombs, and tear gas canisters.
Eshtawi told Ma'an earlier in December that Israeli forces consistently carry out night raids in Kafr Qaddum in retaliation against the protests, which have been ongoing for two years.
During the protests against the Israeli separation wall and settlement expansion, Israeli forces regularly erect a checkpoint at the entrance of the village in the morning and declare it a closed military zone in order to prevent the weekly march from taking place.
The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.