World Bulletin / News Desk
Israel has begun construction work for 300 new settlements in south Bethlehem, a Palestinian activist told The Anadolu Agency on Monday.
Coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements, Ahmad Salah, said the new Israeli settlement effort in the town of al-Khader covered an area of 460 hectares, and it was part of a wider Israeli decision to transform 40 Israeli military camps on several areas in the West Bank into civilian settlements.
Palestine News & Information Agency, or WAFA, quoted Salah saying that the latest Israeli measure was aimed to link the two settlements of Ephrata and Efrat, both built on the land of al-Khader, to the settlement of Maale Adumim, one of the largest Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
Salah told the WAFA that the Israeli authorities took over the land of Um El Mohamadeen area -- which houses al-Khader -- in 2000, following a decision to transform it into a military camp where they setup a large military tower to watch several areas in Bethlehem.
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Soldiers exchanged heavy fire with the militants, whose exact affiliation was unclear, and had surrounded them by midday, security sources said
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