The IDF will imminently lift the closure on a number of village entrances in the Hebron region, the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Civil Affairs announced on Wednesday afternoon. According to Ma’an News, the IDF will open the entrances to Halhoul, Bani Naim, Beit Awa and a road near Beit Hagai.
Imad Qaraqara, the ministry’s media director, told Ma’an News that the lifting of the closures comes after the ministry reached an agreement with Israel to relieve pressure on local civilians.
However, a high-level source in the PA told The Jerusalem Post that he believes the IDF decided to lift the closures because it located and killed Muhammad Fakih, who shot and killed Rabbi Michael Mark and wounded his wife and two of their children on July 1.
“The Israel army decided to open the roads because it found and killed the boy, for whom it had been looking,” he said.
The source added that he thinks the roads should have been opened earlier. “The army most likely had information about the boy’s location in Tzurif a few days ago. Why did they wait until now to open the roads?” he asked.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit did not respond to requests for comment. Nonetheless, the IDF has stated previously that its closure policy serves security needs such as arresting suspects and foiling attacks, while stressing that it does not intend to indiscriminately disrupt the welfare of the general population.
Many entrances to villages have experienced closures in the past month following attacks in the Hebron and Gush Etzion regions.