By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank
"Israeli occupation forces, Tuesday night, rampaged through the town of Dura , 10 kilometers south west of Hebron , vandalizing property and terrorizing civilians, locals and eyewitnesses told PIC.
Eyewitnesses said as many as 20 army vehicles carrying dozens of crack soldiers raided the town in the quiet hours before dawn Wednesday amid sounds of shooting and blasts.
“I saw more than 20 army Jeeps, armored vehicles and trucks, in addition to at least one bulldozer, enter the town around 3: 30 am,” said Ahmed Sharah, a night-shift attendant at a petrol station near the main entrance to Dura.
“They were shooting into the air and making blasts to terrorize the people.”
Upon entering the town, the troops demolished the forefronts of two stores, a butcher's shop and a restaurant, belonging to Muhammed Abu Zneid and his brother Firas.
According to Muhammed Abu Zneid, the occupation troops “rounded up everybody in the home and pushed us onto the street.”
“They behaved like thugs and common criminals. They wouldn’t even let us put on our winter clothes.
“Then they started vandalizing our property and stealing our money,” he said.
Abu Zneid said the soldiers stole from his home $5000 and 12000 NIS in addition to Jewelry of unspecified value.
Eventually, the army began demolishing the front-doors of the two stores, crushing everything inside, including refrigerators. The commanding officer reportedly accused the family of harboring two “wanted persons” affiliated with Hamas’s military wing and demanded that they be handed over.
The family vehemently denied any knowledge in this regard and offered to open the doors so that the soldiers could see for themselves that there were no people inside.
“I told them I would open the doors for them, but they insisted on force-opening the two stores with the bulldozer. They apparently wanted to make us incur as much losses as possible.”
Abu Zneid estimated that losses incurred at more than $10,000.
Earlier, the Israeli army arrested several people in Dura, apparently in connection with “wanted persons,” an allusion to Palestinians activists suspected of involvement in resisting the Israeli occupation.
The Israeli army carries out a nearly nightly spate of arrests of suspected Palestinian activists, mostly on disingenuous charges pertaining to the resistance.
Most of the detainees are incarcerated for prolonged periods of time, often without charge or trial.
It is believed that Israel is detaining as many as 10,000 Palestinian political and resistance activists in as many as 25 prisons and detention camps throughout Israel.
Israeli leaders indicated on several occasions that the prisoners are effectively used as bargaining chips and “pressure cards” to blackmail the Palestinian leadership to give political concessions to Israel in return for freeing the prisoners. "