Hundreds of Palestinian security forces deploy in Hebron

More than 500 Palestinian security reinforcements deployed in the flashpoint West Bank town of Hebron on Saturday as part of a widening crackdown in the occupied territory, officials said.

Around 500 Palestinian members of the security forces took up positions before dawn in the town without incident, Hebron police chief Samih al-Saifi told AFP without specifying the exact number.

An Israeli security official confirmed that the deployment of 550 Palestinian police to Hebron and some nearby villages had taken place with the coordination of the Israeli army.

With more than 160,000 Palestinian residents Hebron is the largest town in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and has long been a flashpoint in the Middle East conflict because of a settlement of around 800 hardline Jews in the heart of the town.

The settlement is guarded by hundreds of Israeli soldiers who will remain in Hebron despite the deployment of the additional Palestinian forces.

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