Israel raids Nablus area villages following fatal attack on settlement 12Mar11 March 14, 2011

WAFA-Palestine News & Info Agency -  12 March 2011

NABLUS, March 12, 2011 (WAFA) – Hundreds of heavily armed Israeli soldiers Saturday raided several villages in the Nablus area following an overnight attack in the settlement of Itamar that left five Israelis dead.

The army set up checkpoints and declared several villages and Nablus a closed military zone, while it imposed curfew on the town of Awarta, east of Nablus. It conducted heavy searches for the assailant, who apparently got away.

The soldiers closed all checkpoints around Nablus and banned vehicles from entering or leaving the city, while an Israeli tank closed a main road leading to Nablus, according to witnesses.

Sources in Awarta told WAFA that soldiers raided the town, the closest to Itamar, and conducted house-to-house searches after imposing curfew. At least 20 people were arrested.

An Israeli drone hovered over the town while the military operation was still running, with extensive military action around the houses of two Palestinians who were killed by Israeli fire in March. Brothers of the two were among those rounded up by the army.

Awarta residents expressed fear that the Israeli army may demolish houses in the town. A witness said he saw two Israeli army bulldozers brought to town as the Israeli soldiers surround several houses and called on their residents to leave them.

Sources also said Israeli soldiers raided Burqa, a village north of Nablus, and broke into houses ransacking them.

Israeli authorities alleged that a Palestinian had stabbed five Israelis to death in Itamar settlement, southeast of Nablus, and fled from the scene. No Palestinian party has claimed responsibility for the attack.

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