Israeli army breaks into money exchange shops across West Bank and steals US $1.38 million
Date: 20 / 09 / 2006 Time: 14:59
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Palestinians inspect damaged shops (MaanImages)
West Bank - Ma'an - In a robbery that is the largest of its kind, the Israeli forces confiscated early on Wednesday morning millions of Israeli shekels from money exchange shops in the West Bank cities of Ramallah, Nablus, Tulkarem and Jenin. The Israeli troops also detained a number of shop owners.
Israeli sources estimated the value of the confiscated funds at NIS 6 million (US $1.38 million). They said that the confiscated money had been intended for operations against Israeli targets.
In the northern city of Nablus, the Israeli forces confiscated about NIS 500,000 from money exchange shops and arrested one shop owner. After failing to open the central treasury of the National Bank of Jordan in Nablus, the Israeli troops also destroyed the first floor of the bank.
The manager of the National Bank of Jordan, Abdul Latif Nasif, told our correspondent in Nablus that "the bank will raise a case against the Israeli army, which destroyed the first floor of the bank completely, including the computers of the bank".
He added that the cost of the destruction of the bank exceeded $ 500,000, in addition to other damages. The Israeli forces did not confiscate any funds from the National Bank of Jordan because they failed to open the bank's treasury as a result of the latest equipment employed by the bank.
Nasif added that the archives of the bank and the funds of the citizens are fine, but the bank needs more than a month before it can resume work due to necessary maintenance and repair work.
In a money exchange shop in Nablus, Hussam Alian, 45, said that the Israeli forces confiscated about NIS 250,000 in various currencies from his shop.
Alian added that the Israeli forces dynamited the main entrance to his shop and broke in. They opened the safe using dynamite and confiscated the money with no reasons.
Alian said that the Israeli army's allegations that these funds are used in hostile activities are incorrect. He added, "I do not deal at all with the remittances whether foreign or domestic".
In the same regard, the owner of the Al Karamah exchange shop in Nablus, Muhammad Hijjah, 33, said, "The Israeli army confiscated what valued NIS 250,000 of cash and checks after blowing up the main entrance of the shop early on Wednesday morning".
Meanwhile, the Israeli forces arrested the owner of the Swidan exchange shop, Ghalib Swidan, 40, in the city of Nablus after they broke into his house in the Rafidia neighbourhood in the west of the city.
In the city of Ramallah, our correspondent reported that the Israeli forces broke into two exchange shops, Al Hurani and Al Ajjoli.
The owner of the Al Hurani shop, Muhammad Al Hurani, said that "around 2:15 am on Wednesday the Israeli forces broke into the shop and blew open the door; entered the shop and confiscated all of its contents. They then threw a bomb inside".
The Israeli forces also broke into the house of the owner of the Al Ajjoli shop, Ghazi Al Ajjoli and confiscated a computer from his house, files related to his customers, money and the keys of the shop. The soldiers then broke into his shop and confiscated its contents before arresting him and his two sons.
In the Tulkarem governorate, the Israeli forces broke into two exchange shops belonging to Mustafa Awad, 40 and Nihad Awad, 26.
Our correspondent in Tulkarem reported that a large number of Israeli troops broke into the houses of the two shop owners, inspected them and confiscated their computers before forcing them to take them to their shops and open up. The soldiers then confiscated money, cheques and documents.
The correspondent added that the Israeli forces arrested the two shop owners for several hours and then released them after confiscating their money.