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Israeli army raids, seals hometown of Palestinian assailant, detains brother

Image of the al-Abed family home after it was ransacked by Israelis following 19 year old Omar al-Abed's stabbing of 3 Israeli settlers, on July 21, 2016 [Maan News Agency]
Image of the al-Abed family home after it was ransacked by Israelis following 19 year old Omar al-Abed's stabbing of 3 Israeli settlers, on July 21, 2016 [Maan News Agency]

Hours after a stabbing attack inside the illegal Israeli settlement of Neve Tsuf in the central occupied West Bank, Israeli forces raided and imposed a military closure on the nearby hometown of the assailant, preventing residents from entering or leaving the village, and detained the attacker’s brother.

The assailant, identified as 19-year-old Omar al-Abed, was reportedly shot and moderately wounded by an Israeli soldier, a neighbor to the victims who arrived to the scene of the attack after hearing shouting coming from the house, according to Israeli media reports.

Omar al-Abed’s uncle Ibrahim told Ma’an News Agency that Israeli forces raided Kobar village, located north of Ramallah city and just a few kilometers east of Halamish, at around 5 am Saturday, stormed Omar’s family’s home, and handcuffed his siblings, mother, and father.

As Israeli soldiers searched the house for more than an hour, upending and destroying the family’s furniture and belongings, Israeli forces interrogated each of the family members separately, asking if they had any knowledge of Omar’s intentions to carry out the attack.

The family insisted that they were surprised by the attack and said they had learned of it only after seeing reports on social media and news sites, Ibrahim said.

Israeli forces detained Omar’s 22-year-old brother Munir, a student at Birzeit University.

Israeli forces stormed and searched dozens of other houses in Kobar during the raid, including the home of the sister of Nael Barghouthi – the longest serving Palestinian prisoner in Israeli custody – and stole an amount of money from her.

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Israeli forces also detained another youth in the village identified by locals as Muhammad Asfour al-Barghouthi. However, an Israeli army spokesperson denied that a second Palestinians was detained in the village.

In response to request for comment on the raid, the spokesperson said that the army “surveyed the house of the assailant, and confiscated weapons and money used for terror.”

They confirmed Omar’s brother was in custody and that “movement out of the village is limited to humanitarian cases only.”

Israeli media sites also reported that Israeli forces had taken measurements of the al-Abed home in preparation to punitively demolish it.

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