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Israel releases 2 children from Bethlehem-area town after detaining them for 3 hours

Jan. 10, 2017 8:15 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 11, 2017 11:03 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces Tuesday released two Palestinian children from the town of al-Khader in western Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank after detaining them earlier in the day and allegedly assaulting one of them. 

A family member told Ma’an that Israeli forces released Muhammad Salah, 12, and Issa Salah, 10, after holding them both for three hours on Tuesday. The family member added that Issa had been assaulted by Israeli forces, but did not provide details. 

The unidentified family member also said that the area was “becoming dangerous for our children as they are close to the separation wall where Israeli army forces are always around.”

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an they would look into reports of the detentions. 

According to the Bethlehem-based Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem, more than 1,300 acres have been confiscated from al-Khader village for the construction of Israel’s separation wall, cutting off scores of families from their agricultural incomes. 

In addition, other communities located nearby Israel’s separation wall have also routinely reported a heightened Israeli military presence, as Israeli military raids, violent clashes, and land confiscations remain an everyday threat to Palestinians near Israel’s separation wall -- more than 60 kilometers of which already cuts through the Bethlehem district and is built on Palestinian land, according to the UN. 

Israel began building the separation wall with concrete slabs, fences, and barbed-wire inside the occupied West Bank in 2002 at the height of the Second Intifada, claiming it was crucial for security.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners' Affairs released a statement in October, which said that at least 1,000 Palestinian minors between the ages of 11 and 18 had been detained by Israel since last January, including around 70 children from occupied East Jerusalem who were placed under house arrest.

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