Jericho remains under siege by Israeli forces for 6th straight day
By Awad Rjoob and Halime Afra Aksoy
RAMALLAH, Palestine(AA): The Israeli army’s blockade of the occupied West Bank city of Jericho continued for a sixth consecutive day Thursday.
The Palestinian news agency Wafa reported the detention of 10 Palestinians since Wednesday at temporary checkpoints set up by the army at all main entrances to the city.
Israeli forces stopped vehicles passing through the checkpoints one by one and performed identity checks and searches of Palestinians, according to eyewitnesses.
Long queues of vehicles formed at the entrances of the city due to the searches.
Residents of Jericho, who have been under siege since the second day of Eid al-Fitr, a religious festival the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, have significant economic hardships due to the blockade.
Jericho, which normally hosts over half a million tourists during holidays, has received only 200,000 visitors during the Muslim religious festival due to the blockade.
Israeli forces first imposed the siege on Jericho last Saturday.
Meanwhile, Jewish settlers in the Al-Agvar region to the north of the West Bank attacked Palestinians and their properties, Wafa reported.
At least four Palestinians bruises all over their bodies.
Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors Israeli settlement activities in the north of the West Bank, said dozens of Jewish settlers attacked Palestinian farmers and their properties.
Israeli settlers set fire to a Palestinian house in the West Bank on Wednesday, in the latest attack on Palestinian properties in the occupied territory, according to a local official.
“The entire house was destroyed in the fire,” Ghassan Daghlas, who is in charge of monitoring settlement building in the northern West Bank, told Anadolu.
He said no one was hurt in the fire as the house, located southeast of Nablus city, was empty at the time of the blaze.
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry held the Israeli government for the latest settler attack in the West Bank.
“These crimes reflect the extremist racist colonial mentality of inflaming the conflict that does not hesitate to commit the worst crimes against Palestinian civilians,” the ministry said in a statement.
According to UN figures, Israeli settlers carried out 314 attacks against Palestinians and their properties in the West Bank since the start of this year.
Also on Wednesday, nearly 400 Israeli settlers forced their way into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem, according to a Palestinian agency.
In a brief statement, the Islamic Endowments Department in Jerusalem said nearly 400 settlers broke into the mosque courtyard under police protection through the Mughrabi Gate, west of the mosque.
According to an Anadolu reporter, some settlers raised Israeli flags inside the flashpoint complex before being stopped by the Israeli police and taken off the site.
The settler intrusions came as Israel is commemorating its national day, which marks the country’s creation on the rubble of Palestine. Palestinians call the day “Nakba,” or the Catastrophe.
Israeli forces stepped up enforcement activities at a checkpoint in the Palestinian town of Huwara to the south of Nablus, causing long queues of vehicles, he said.
Tensions have been running high across the occupied West Bank in recent months amid repeated Israeli raids into Palestinian towns.
According to Palestinian figures, more than 100 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the start of this year. Sixteen Israelis have also been killed in separate attacks during the same period.
[Photo: Israeli forces at the site where a Palestinian was killed as a result of fire opened by Israeli forces, on April 27, 2023 in and around the town of Haris, located near the city of Salfit in the north of the West Bank, .Photographer: Nedal Eshtayah/ Anadolu Agency]
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