Israeli army night raids spread fear in West Bank - Al Jazeera English

Israeli army night raids spread fear in West Bank

Night raids, a common tactic in the occupied West Bank, are used to intimidate the Palestinian community, residents say.

Kelly Lynn | | Human Rights, War & Conflict, Politics, Palestine, Occupied West Bank

Bethlehem, occupied West Bank - "The young men nowadays do not sleep before the morning call to prayer," says Ayed al-Azza, a father of four in Bethlehem's Aida refugee camp. His own home has been raided at night by Israeli soldiers four times.

Night raids are a common tactic throughout the West Bank, used by the Israeli military under the pretext of security and intelligence gathering. But Palestinians maintain they are used to intimidate, coerce and collectively punish Palestinian communities who resist the Israeli occupation.

The raids are characterised by various degrees of force. Doors can be broken; adults and children alike can be awoken at gunpoint, corralled into a single room and interrogated while masked troops search the house, often destroying furniture and leaving the home in disarray.  

When arrests are made, Palestinian detainees are typically blindfolded and handcuffed, and sometimes beaten in front of family members.

Raids can also be deadly, as seen in the recent cases of 18-year-old Mohammed Abu Latifa in the Qalandia Refugee Camp in Ramallah, and Falah Hammed Abu Maria, 53, in the southern West Bank village of Beit Ummar.

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