Israeli forces stormed the northern West Bank village of Awarta early Saturday, hours after the killing of five Israelis from one family in the Itamar settlement less than a half-kilometer away.
Israeli forces surrounded the village’s cemetery searching for suspects and imposed a curfew.
Locals told Ma’an that Israeli forces started house-to-house inspections in the village. Homes of relatives of two Palestinians, killed a few months ago near Itamar, were stormed, according to locals.
Muhannad, Ahmad, and Amjad Al-Kamil, brothers of Salah Al-Kamil who was killed near Itamar, were detained as well as Amjad, Majdi, and Mahmoud Qawariq whose brother was also killed near Itamar. Others were identified as Muhammad Qawariq, Walid Jarrah and his brother Abdullah, Muayyad and Shadi Sharab, Shadi Awwad, Ali Ghazzawi, Yasser Ghazzawi, Shadi Nassar, Fadi Nassar, and Ayman Faysal.
Israel’s military besieged other areas in the northern West Bank after the apparent attack, closing checkpoints and initiating aggressive searches with police dogs and helicopters.
Military checkpoints which had been evacuated in recent months were erected again. Soldiers reoccupied the Huwwara post south of Nablus, the Taneib checkpoint to the west, and Al-Badhan in the north.
Flying checkpoints were also set up after the attack. Locals said all Palestinians who attempted to cross in or out of Nablus were searched and sent back after the army declared the region a closed military zone.
In Jenin, Israeli forces swept through southern villages, but there were no reports of home raids or arrests. Soldiers fired stun grenades in Zbabdeh, Sanour and Maslyeh, residents said.
An army spokeswoman said the military had no immediate comment on the operations.
The An-Najah National University in Nablus delayed an English-language examination and cancelled a day of voluntary work which had been previously scheduled for Saturday.
Tension between Palestinians and settlers in the area has been extremely high in recent days. On Monday, Israeli soldiers fired live rounds at Palestinians after they clashed with settlers near Nablus.
Ten Palestinians and a settler were wounded during the violence, according to Palestinian medical sources and a spokesman for the settlers.
A week earlier, police clashed with settlers in the Havat Gilad outpost west of Nablus as officers moved in to remove a caravan, a tent and another half-built illegal structure there.
That prompted settlers to firebomb a house in Huwarra village, which saw two Palestinian children taken to hospital for smoke inhalation.
They also smashed up shops and cars in the southern city of Hebron and settlers also cut down 500 olive tree saplings that had been planted on the site of a former settlement outpost.
The settlers routinely react when police and soldiers demolish structures in settlements or wildcat settlement outposts in what are known as “price tag” attacks, which often target Palestinians.
This violence against the local population is a direct response to what they consider “anti-settler” activity by the Israeli government.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday warned hardline settlers that such attacks were unacceptable.
The last deadly attack on a West Bank settlement was on August 31 last year, when four settlers were killed near Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank. Two other Israelis were wounded in an attack the following day in Ramallah.
The following month, the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas said those responsible for both attacks had been arrested.
He identified them as members of the rival Hamas group that controls the Gaza Strip.