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In Photos: Israeli forces close down village of 25,000 following deadly attack by three youths

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Israeli forces closed down Qabatiya village in the northern occupied West Bank overnight Wednesday, following an attack carried out by three youths from the village who shot and killed a 19-year-old Israeli police officer, and seriously injured another. All three youths were shot dead at the scene, but Israeli forces retaliated by closing down the attackers’ hometown.

Around 25,000 people in the large northern village are on lockdown. All seven entrances to the village are closed, and only a muddy path through a farm field remains open. Residents told Mondoweiss that if Israeli forces found that they had been using the path, it too would be closed.

(Photo: Abed al Qaisi)

(Photo: Abed al Qaisi)

To reach the village one has to navigate the muddy farm road marred with deeps trenches made by ambulances tearing out of the village to get the injured to safety.

While an Israeli army spokesperson told Mondoweiss that humanitarian cases would still be allowed entry and exit, the village’s emergency service center told a different story.

(Photo: Abed al Qaisi)

Qabatiya’s emergency center says Israeli forces have not been cooperating with humanitarian cases. (Photo: Abed al Qaisi)

As an ambulance passed by the center, the driver slowed for a moment to tell Ahmad Sabaana, the head of the office, that soldiers had entered the village, and they were unable to make it to the dirt road. The elderly man having heart palpitations in the back of the emergency vehicle would have to taken to the village’s two-room clinic.

“This has happened a few times during the past two days,” Sabaana explained. “Gunshot wounds we can handle, but that is about it, our clinic is made for treating colds, not heart attacks.”

(Photo: Abed al Qaisi)

Qabatiya’s emergency center is overwhelmed with calls. (Photo: Abed al Qaisi)

Ibrahim Zakarna, who works at the emergency center told Mondoweiss that he and his team have been working day and night.

“We don’t have a minute to sit down,” Zakarna said. “We are putting out fires, bringing medicine to people, bringing food to people scared to leave their homes, treating gunshot wounds from the clashes until ambulances can arrive. It doesn’t stop.”

Zakarna explained that one house, home to eight residents, sits just on the other side of one of the dirt mounds that have blocked the entrances to the village. The home was turned into a military barracks for Israeli forces and the rest of the village has no access to the eight people.

“They called us asking for help, we’ve begged Israeli soldiers to allow us to bring them food and supplies or allow us to move the family into a home inside the village but they refused.”

(Photo: Abed al Qaisi)

(Photo: Abed al Qaisi)

Clashes have been ongoing in the village day and night. During one of the clashes on Friday around 80 young men had gathered at one of the main entrances of the village that had been shuttered.

(Photo: Abed al Qaisi)

(Photo: Abed al Qaisi)

Protesters threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at forces, but the divide between the two sides at the front line of clashes was so wide, the teen’s efforts landed in the middle of the street, far from endangering Israeli soldiers on the other side of a large dirt mound.

(Photo: Abed al Qaisi)

(Photo: Abed al Qaisi)

Israeli forces responded with live bullets. In the photo here, the same young man pictured above lays on the ground, shot in the leg by Israeli forces.

(Photo: Abed al Qaisi)

Israeli forces shoot a young man in the lower leg during clashes. He goes down and fellow protesters quickly come to his aid, carrying him to a civilian car that takes off to get him help. (Photo: Abed al Qaisi)

Young men were scattered across the village’s streets, confronting Israeli forces at several entrances.

One young man said the clashes would continue until Israeli forces opened the village. An Israeli army spokesperson said the village will remain closed for at least a month. After a month of closure, authorities would then reevaluation the “situation assessment.”

(Photo: Abed al Qaisi)

(Photo: Abed al Qaisi)

“Because they closed the road, no one can go to work, so this is out work now,” Yassir, who did not want his last name or face published said. “If they want to do this it is fine for us, it will only make us stronger.” 

Correction: An earlier version of this article referenced the three youths who carried out the attack as all being teens. Mondoweiss correspondents Abed Al Qaisi and Sheren Khalel have since confirmed with the youths’  families that two were 19 and one was 22. 

Abed Al Qaisi

Abed Al Qaisi is a freelance multimedia journalist covering conflict in the Middle East and Europe. Abed has done work for Al Jazeera English, USA Today, Vice News and more.

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20 Responses

  1. Marnie on February 7, 2016, 12:34 am

    Does anyone have the intestinal fortitude to compare israel to any other place than apartheid South Africa?

    I suppose the residents of Qabatiya should be grateful for the benevolence of the IOF; at least they’ve left their homes standing. It’s just a well-favored, well-used IOF tactic in collective punishment – lock down 24,997 people for the alleged actions of 3 of its residents, who weren’t arrested but summarily executed as is de rigueur of the ‘only democracy in the middle east’.

    • annie on February 7, 2016, 12:50 am

      Does anyone have the intestinal fortitude to compare israel to any other place than apartheid South Africa

      maybe some science fiction novel, where at any time a whole society can be on lockdown at the whim of a dominant evil power. this is what the life in a banustan amounts to. this is what they have in mind for palestinians — into perpetuity. it’s a model for mankind if we do not stop it.

  2. Mayhem on February 7, 2016, 8:00 am

    These three terrorists were NOT teens according to Ma’an News Agency who reported “Three Qabatiya residents in their early 20s, Ahmad Rajeh Ismail Zakarneh, Muhammad Ahmad Hilmi Kamil, and Najeh Ibrahim Abu al-Rub, were shot dead during Wednesday’s attack and laid to rest Friday night.”
    Moreover Israel has lifted the blockade of Qabatiya after three days. Apparently the town has seen around 10 residents killed in the wave of violence that began in October. With this heavy involvement of elements from the one town in terrorist attacks it was totally justified that the Israeli authorities put the town under temporary lockdown.

    • jon s on February 7, 2016, 8:46 pm

      As Mayhem pointed out the attackers from Qabatiya were not teens.
      Why not correct the headline?

      • Mooser on February 7, 2016, 10:16 pm

        “Why not correct the headline?”

        Very funny. Like you corrected your breathless report on the “terrorist attack at Beersheva”.

        Got your Nikes clean yet?

    • Atlantaiconoclast on February 7, 2016, 11:40 pm

      What in the world makes you think that an occupying soldier deserves anything other than a bullet in his head? If any Palestinian dared to occupy an Israeli village, he would be liquidated with no hesitation. Your Jewish supremacism keeps you from appreciating this logic.

  3. Kathleen on February 7, 2016, 10:04 am

    Israel needs to get out of the West Bank decades ago.

    ” the Universal Declaration of Human Right’s preamble (adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly Resolution 217 A (III) of December 10, 1948), reads: “Whereas it is essential if man is not compelled as a last resort to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.”

    ” Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Convention of 1949, (Act 1 C4), passed in 1977, declared that armed struggle can be used, as a last resort, as a method of exercising the right of self-determination. One can hardly argue that Israel’s decades long occupation of Palestinian land, the full-fledged apartheid regime it instituted in the Occupied Territories, the loud violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the seizer of the land, the destruction of property, and most importantly, the refusal to honor nearly 70 United Nations Resolutions amid daily killings and assassinations of Palestinians, acts recognized by the Convention and by leading human rights groups as war crimes, qualify Palestinians, as it always did to fight back using armed struggle.”

    Given the Palestinians depressing circumstances and the Israeli governments concerted effort to steal more land, Palestinians homes, integrity, live not difficult to understand why they turn to violence

    Study: Israel Leads in Ignoring Security Council Resolutions

    NEW YORK – Israel holds the record for ignoring United Nations Security Council resolutions, according to a study by San Francisco University political science professor Steven Zunes.
    read more:

  4. Pretext on February 7, 2016, 11:05 am

    Don’t say that they “closed down” the village. That’s couching it in their narrative. Call it what it is. They put the village “under siege” as collective punishment.

  5. Kathleen on February 7, 2016, 9:35 pm

    The three young men who killed the Israeli soldier are dead…a whole village of 25,000 shut down…now they say for a month….


  6. RockyMissouri on February 8, 2016, 11:11 am


  7. jon s on February 11, 2016, 3:37 pm

    Still no correction.
    In Journalism 101 you learn that if what you published was erroneous, you publish a correction. You even gain credibility by doing so.

    Maybe I’m wrong in thinking of Mondoweiss as “journalism”.

    • annie on February 11, 2016, 4:33 pm

      this is the first i have read regarding this. i will alert phil and adam. btw, the linked ma’an article mentions a few teens, one “Hamdallah also denounced the death of 14-year-old Haitham Ismail al-Baw, killed by Israeli forces the day before in what he termed a summary execution by Israel” and does not specify the “Three Qabatiya residents in their early 20s, ” were responsible for the attack in jerusalem — therefore it’s not a source contradicting the headline. but as it was subsequently published elsewhere identifying them as the perps it warrants attention.

    • annie on February 11, 2016, 4:52 pm

      jon, just heard back from adam, we will be following up. thanks for your attention on this issue.

      • jon s on February 12, 2016, 3:24 am

        Annie, thanks for the response.

      • annie on February 12, 2016, 11:58 am

        jon, after confirmation with our correspondents we’ve changed the headline and issued a correction at the base.

    • Mooser on February 11, 2016, 5:42 pm

      “Maybe I’m wrong in thinking of Mondoweiss as “journalism”.”

      I know what you mean, “Jon s”!
      Why I remember once, some commenter wanted Mondo to report the senseless shooting-and–beating murder of an innocent Eritrean man as “a terrorist attack on Beersheva”!

      Was there a “correction”? Or did he ‘double-down’ on the “terrorist attack” schtik? Do you remember, “Jon s”?

      • jon s on February 13, 2016, 4:57 am

        Annie , thanks for the correction. Accuracy is important.

        Credit to Mayhem for pointing out the error.

      • Mooser on February 13, 2016, 10:53 am

        “Accuracy is important”


        Terrorist attack in Beersheva this evening.
        My family and I are ok, thank God. I also asked all the kids in my class to check in and they all reported that they’re ok, although some sound shaken.” “Jon s” – See more at:

        And how’s that for “accuracy”? Have you issued a “correction” “Jons”? Or too busy polishing your brass?

    • Kris on February 11, 2016, 5:45 pm

      Gosh, I hope mondoweiss corrects this ASAP, so we don’t have to think about whether these three young people were in their teens or early 20’s, instead of thinking about Israel’s war crime of collective punishment against 25,000 people.

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