Israeli occupation forces detained more than 200 Palestinian citizens in pre-dawn campaigns on Monday, most of them from the West Bank city of Hebron where an Israeli soldier was killed on Sunday.
Palestinian sources told MEMO that most of the detainees were questioned and then released, but they also stressed that an unconfirmed number of them – estimated to be between 30 and 40 – remain in investigation centres.
The sources affirmed to MEMO that they were being questioned in relation to the killing of an Israeli soldier, probably by a sniper, near the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron. Neither Arabic nor Israeli sources announced the identity of the killer.
Israeli soldier Gal Kobi, 20, was killed on Sunday after he was shot in the neck. He was rushed to the Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem in serious condition but was announced dead later on from his wounds.
Israeli officials immediately blamed Palestinians for the killing. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also issued a directive to allow Israelis to move into a Palestinian house, which Israeli settlers previously claimed they bought, in Hebron.
“Those who try to uproot us from the city of our fathers will achieve only the opposite. With one hand we will fight terror and with the other we’ll strengthen [our] settlement,” Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported Netanyahu saying.
Following Netanyahu’s directive, a group of Israeli settlers seized a 20-dunam area of land in the city of Nablus, near the Israeli settlement of Itmar, and started levelling it to prepare it for construction facilities serving the settlement.
Meanwhile, Israeli military is still continuing to comb the streets and alleyways of Hebron, Israeli sources said, searching for potential Palestinian suspects. Sources told MEMO that the Israeli forces are searching house by house.
Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon said: “The Israeli defence and security forces will lay their hands on the terrorist and those who sent him.” Ya’alon told Israeli media that, “fighting terror is a lengthy battle, which requires our determination.”