24 years on Ibrahimi mosque massacre 

PNN/ Hebron/

Hebron marks today, 25 February 2018, 24 years since the Ibrahimi mosque massacre took place, when an Israeli-American settler opened fire at Palestinian worshipers during Fajr prayers in Ramadan holy month, killing 29 and injuring 150 others before he was caught and killed by the crowds.

The ultra-orthodox settler,  a physician identified as Baruch Goldstein, came from Kiryat Arba settlement in Hebron, walked into the mosque and opened fire at random from his Israeli army-issued machine gun.

At the time, Israeli soldiers, who were in the vicinity of the mosque, closed the doors to the mosque and prevented the worshipers from escaping the scene, then prevented people from outside to enter it to help in evacuating the dead and wounded.

Residents who wanted to reach the mosque, and those inside, fought with the soldiers, leaving an additional number dead and injured. Later, related violence raised the number of Palestinians killed on that day to 50, in Hebron alone, and to 60, adding those killed in confrontations that broke out elsewhere in the West Bank, against Israeli occupation forces.

WAFA additionally reports that, immediately following the massacre, Israel decided to punish the victims by closing down the old town of Hebron, where the Ibrahimi mosque is located, for six months. An all-Israeli committee was formed to probe the massacre, instead of punishing the settlers, to divide the mosque between Muslims and Jews, and to close down several commercial streets, most famously Shuhada Street, which remains closed for Palestinians until today. Army checkpoints were also set up to restrict the movement of Palestinians, while Israeli settlers continued to move freely and without any restrictions.

The new facts on the ground created after the massacre to punish the victims are still in place until today.