Israeli authorities, on Tuesday, sealed off a stone-cutting factory and seized a lorry in the town of Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, according to local sources.Mohammad Awad, spokesperson of the People’s Anti-Settlement Committee, said an Israeli army force, accompanied by staff from the Israeli Civil Administration, broke into the area and ordered the factory’s owner, Jamil Tarwa, and workers to leave.

The soldiers and the Civil Administration also seized a stone-loaded truck, which was present at the factory.

The workshop was set up and officially licensed in 1971, said Awad, who was also assaulted by the Israeli soldiers while he was taking photos of the incident.

WAFA Palestinian News & Info Agency further notes that the stone and marble industry is strategically significant to the Palestinian economy and is considered the biggest industry in terms of the number of companies, sales and employment rates.

According to the Union of Stone and Marble Industry, the industry supports about 15,000 – 20,000 direct jobs and generates about $60 million of exports annually. It is spread over the West Bank, but is concentrated in the districts of Hebron, Nablus and Jenin.

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