At about 10 AM today, Monday, March 31, 2008, the Israeli army invaded the village of Marda, in the Sulfiet region of the West Bank. After invading, the army immediately announced curfew on the entire village, thus prohibiting all residents from leaving their homes, opening their shops, or leaving the village.
Marda lies at the base of the hill on which the illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel is built. The village has only two entrances, and just one of those is accessible by car. Fences surround Marda on three sides and the fourth side, the one facing Ariel, there is a wall. Marda is further isolated as it is the only Palestinian village to the north of the main road in that area. Due to its proximity to Ariel and its isolation from other villages, Marda has faced an exceptionally high number of military invasions throughout the years.
Today, the Israeli soldiers confiscated the keys to several cars belonging to Marda residents, at least three of these cars were confiscated near the one entrance to the village through which cars are allowed to pass. Residents also report that two people were arrested: a 15-year old boy and a farmer working in his field during the curfew. Their status is currently unknown.
For the first hour of the curfew at least one home in the village was occupied, with soldiers stationed on the roof. Witnesses also report hearing live ammunition fired several times throughout the day: first about twenty minutes after the curfew was imposed and again in the early evening.
At around 3-4 PM residents of the village were walking in the streets and somewhat able to move around. However, soldiers were still stationed at the main entrance to the village, not allowing anyone to enter or exit. At 8:30 PM there were again Israeli military vehicles driving through the streets of Marda, announcing continued curfew. The village has yet to be given a reason for this invasion or any idea as to how long it may last.