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Awarta residents DNA tested in Itamar case
Published Tuesday 29/03/2011 (updated) 31/03/2011 14:01
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Soldiers search fields east of Awarta on 12 March [MaanImages/Rami Swidan]
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- The deputy mayor of Awarta and two of his brothers were detained along with dozens of others Tuesday morning by Israeli forces. Officials say the detained men are being given DNA tests and questioned by soldiers.

The detentions come as the investigation into the murders of five Israeli settlers - including two children and an infant - enters its third week. More than 40 had been detained from the village in the first week of the investigation, and foreign workers in the settlement were said to have been questioned.

Awarta, the closest Palestinian village to the illegal Israeli settlement of Itamar, where the murders occurred, has been the center of the investigation. It was placed under military curfew twice, the first time for five days.

While a third curfew was not imposed overnight, Israeli troops forcibly entered homes, detaining an unknown number of residents estimated to be in the dozens. Forty had already been detained during earlier arrest raids, including a Voice of Palestine radio journalist.

An Israeli army spokeswoman confirmed military activity in the village overnight, but said she could not comment on whether or not villagers had been arrested, or the nature of their arrests. Israel placed details of the investigation under a gag order, and while political leaders pointed the finger at Palestinian militants, no suspect has been publicly identified.

Awarta Mayor Qays Awwad told Ma'an on Tuesday morning that the men and boys who had been detained during the first round of arrests in the village were taken to the Israeli military base at Huwwara, where they were subjected to DNA testing and fingerprinted.

"They took samples for DNA tests, and were fingerprinted before being interrogated. Some were released but more are being kept in custody," the mayor said, adding that his deputy mayor Hasan Awwad and two of his brothers were among those rounded up overnight.

Palestinian militant groups, leaders and civil society organizations condemned the Itamar murders, in which five members of the Fogel family were stabbed to death in their beds shortly before midnight on March 11. Settler leaders released pictures of the grisly murders, and officials blamed Palestinians, intensifying a wave of settler violence.

Since the end of February, seven Palestinians have been injured by settler gunfire, two have been stabbed, two have been beaten, seven have been injured by stones, at least six cars have been torched. Meanwhile, dozens of acts of vandalism and harassment have been reported.

An escalation in violent attacks began after the Israeli government dismantled an illegal settlement outpost on February 28. Under a professed "price tag" policy, settlers make Palestinians "pay" for each evacuation of outposts. In the past, the "price" has included arson, shootings, beatings, burning fields, uprooting trees and poisoning water wells belonging to Palestinians.

The scale of the attacks redoubled after Palestinians were accused in the Itamar murders before investigations began.
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1 ) Harry / USA
29/03/2011 13:09
When tragedies like the Fogel family murders take place in the United States, it isn't uncommon for the police to identify a relative of the family as the culprit in the killings. If that turns out to be the case, with regards to the Fogel family, I wonder if those who intend on capitalizing off the tragedy, those who wish to build more settler homes and those who use it as an excuse for their own violence, will feel in the least ashamed. Probably not.

2 ) southparkbear / usa
29/03/2011 14:03
easy test, they are all related, a tree without branches

3 ) To Harry / USA
29/03/2011 17:30
Yes a member of the family...perhaps their 12 yr old daughter did it? excellent theory. how about we do what everyone on this site has said and wait before we continue to speculate.

4 ) Tobias / US
29/03/2011 17:39
Harry,

It is equally likely that aliens, from Mars, did the murders,
than your scenario, of "a relative of the family" being involved,
in such an inhuman autrocity !!!


5 ) Christopher / USA
29/03/2011 18:35
You are a disgusting white supremacist, southparkbear.

6 ) Mark of Lewiston / USA
29/03/2011 18:50
They are witch hunting. They have no actual suspects. And if they interrogated like the US contracted out to the Syrians, they could have had hundreds of detailed confessions dictated by now. The only problem with that is that the interrogators would have been doing the dictation. This really is evidence that the Israelis have no clue who did it or why. Inspector Clouseau is running the case.

7 ) Maureen / Australia
29/03/2011 21:18
2) southparkbear, it's not hard to guess what you are a product of!

8 ) KAHG / US
29/03/2011 23:17
The Israeli authorities are under pressure to close the books on this one and due to the Israeli governments opportunistic politicizing of these murders that book must catch a Palestinian between its pages

9 ) rashid abu musa / PALESTINE
30/03/2011 06:39
2#you are such a racist on many levels.

10 ) eporue / europe
30/03/2011 08:39
dont their lawyers get access to the files ?

11 ) rashid abu musa / palestine
30/03/2011 23:48
2#you are racist on many levels

12 ) Saffron Rice / USA
05/04/2011 06:12
This is like Les Mis - except it is a whole country of armed vigilantes against a tiny neighborhood who's only crime is existing - they haven't even stolen a crust of bread like Jean Valjean. It reminds me of Rummy saying the Gitmo detainees were "the worst of the worst' with no evidence. I think its unseemly for supposedly civilized people to condemn an entire population with no motive or tangible evidence.
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