This article was published by the Israeli news site Ynet on July 3rd.
The IDF held an urban warfare drill in the Palestinian village of al-Aqabah in the northeastern West Bank, Ynet learned Tuesday.
The drill was held according to the military’s training protocol. The IDF has recently resumed training in designated live-fire zones in the Jordan Rift Valley – even those riddled with some Palestinian and Bedouin villages.
The IDF informs residents of upcoming drills, and asks that they leave the area for a few hours, for their own safety.
However, Palestinian sources said that last week, IDF forces entered al-Aqabah without warning and launched an exercise, which including gunfire and flares; all while the residents found themselves under an impromptu curfew.
Hadj Sami, one of the residents, told Ynet that the drill began at 10 pm and lasted several hours. “When we asked the soldiers what was going on they said it was a drill,” he added.
The village leadership, he continued, called the Coordination and Liaison Authority, but was told that the drill was taking place outside the village, not inside it.
An IDF Spokesperson statement said that, “This is a designated fire zone which is a restricted military area. The Palestinian village was erected illegally and in any case, no live rounds were used during the exercise.”