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Israeli Army arrests 100 women in West Bank village

Last Updated: Friday, April 8, 2011 - 15:56

Nablus: Israeli troops stormed Awarta village in the northern West Bank on Thursday, arresting more than 100 women as they hunted the killers of an Israeli family, officials said.

The military also used bulldozers to destroy Palestinian houses in a northern farming village east of Tubas, in an area under Israeli control, according to Palestinian security officials.

In Awarta, hundreds of troops entered the village shortly after midnight and imposed a curfew after which they began rounding up the women, local council head Tayis Awwad told a news agency.

They carried out house-to-house searches through the night, he said. Palestinian security sources confirmed the same information.

The women, some elderly, were placed in a camp where the military took their fingerprints and DNA samples before most of them were released, said the Palestinian sources.

Contacted by a news agency, an Israeli military spokesman said a blackout had been placed on information about its operations there.

The Palestinian Authority condemned what spokesman Ghassan Khatib called the "endless campaigns of barbaric acts committed by the Israeli occupation Army against the people of Awarta."

The Army has been conducting frequent raids on the village for the past four weeks, arresting scores of villagers following last month`s murders of five people in the nearby settlement of Itamar.

But Thursday`s raid marked the first time they had arrested any women, Awwad said.

Since March 11, the village, just south of Nablus, has been the focus of a massive manhunt after the grisly stabbing of a Jewish couple and their three young children, one of them a baby, as they slept in their beds in Itamar.

Following the murders, troops entered Awarta and imposed a curfew for five straight days, conducting house-to-house searches for the killers, who are believed to be Palestinian.

Last week, they entered the village again and imposed a curfew, but so far no one has been charged, with the military refusing to comment on the operation.

Hassan Awad, Awarta`s deputy mayor, said last week that 80 percent of the houses had been raided and 300 men and boys arrested. About 40 of them were in jail at the time.

On Sunday, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees said Israel demolished 76 Palestinian homes in the West Bank in March compared with 29 in January and 70 in February.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, April 8, 2011 - 15:56

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