A Palestinian policeman reacts outside a money changer in the Palestinian political capital Ramallah after it was raided by Israeli forces on April 14, 2016. (AFP photo)
Israeli forces have carried out a raid on a shop in the occupied West Bank, sparking a massive fire and clashes with the Palestinians.
Palestine’s Ma’an agency said on Thursday that the pre-dawn raid on the office of a money changer in the Palestinian political capital, Ramallah, led to the detonation of a safe in the shop. The ensuing fire spread to nearby buildings.
The report said Israeli forces fired stun grenades in the al-Ajouli currency exchange service in al-Birah area in central Ramallah. That came after the owner of the shop, identified as Ghazi al-Ajouli, refused to open his safe which the Israelis suspected of containing funds and documents related to Palestinian resistance groups.
“They went in and took the money. After taking the money they went out and detonated the store and then a fire started,” one witness said, adding that people were safe after Palestinian forces extinguished the fire.
Palestinian officials condemned the attack as a violation of international treaties as Ramallah is under full control of the Palestinian Authority as stipulated in the Oslo peace agreements adopted in the 1990s.
“(Israel) continues its incursions into Palestinian areas, affecting the population, including putting them in danger,” said Jamal Dajani, a spokesman for Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.
Israelis said they did not want to set ablaze the shop, adding that they used a “controlled detonation” to open the safe and then the fire erupted.
Reports said the shop owner was detained by Israeli forces. More than 7,000 Palestinians remain behind bars in Israeli jails following raids by Israeli forces across the occupied West Bank.