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Israeli forces arrest 27 youth in Beit Ommar

11th March 2009, Beit Ommar village, Hebron region: 27 youth arrested during ongoing closure of Beit Ommar village
27 residents of Beit Ommar village in the Hebron District of the southern West Bank, have been arrested by Israeli forces while the village remains under curfew with a large-scale military operation taking place.

At approximately 12am on the morning of 11 March 2009, over ten army vehicles, including personnel carriers, invaded the village, with an army bulldozer closing the most of the roads leading out of Beit Ommar.

Dozens of soldiers then began entering houses at random and arbitrarily arrested young men. One of the arrested includes an independent journalist and volunteer for B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights organization.

This recent military invasions comes at great cost for the villagers of Beit Ommar. Today, no one can go to work or school. I have seen the smashed up homes where soldiers have destroyed property and urinated. Twenty-seven boys have now been arrested, seemingly at random, and taken to an unknown location. The military harassment of Beit Ommar has become a regular occurance. – Bekah Wolf, American activist living in Beit Ommar – Palestine Solidarity Project

A curfew has been imposed since 4am, with residents prevented from leaving their homes. Several houses entered by Israeli forces have been damaged. Soldiers have been seen breaking windows and cabinets, and they have urinated in the room of at least one residence.

The army has also passed around a letter telling residents that any youth who threw stones at the army would be arrested.

This most recent invasion comes after a week of almost nightly raids on Beit Ommar. On the night of 4 March, 15-year-old Mehdi Said Abu Ayyash was shot in the head with live ammunition and he remains in a coma in serious condition.