BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces detained at least 25 Palestinians, including at least five minors, during predawn detention raids Monday across the occupied territory, according to Palestinian and Israeli sources.
A statement from the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said that nine Palestinians, most of them former prisoners, were detained from different areas in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem.
PPS identified them as 20 year-old Mazen Muhammad Taqatqa, 21-year-old Amin Abu Ahour, 55-year-old Khader Ahmad Masalma, 18-year-old Fadi Taqatqa, 15-year-old Adam Mahmoud Darwish, 29-year-old Eid Kamil al-Kamil, 16-year-old Jawad Ibrahim Taqatqa, 50-year-old Shafiq Ali Radayda, and Ayman Issa Hamdan.
An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed eight detentions in the Bethlehem area, saying that one was carried out in the village of al-Ubeidiya, one in Beit Fajjar, one in Aida refugee camp, one in Rafida -- also known as al-Asakira -- three in Bethlehem city, and one in al-Shawawra.
According to PPS, Israeli forces also raided the southernmost district of Hebron, and detained 25-year-old Imad Hamdi Abu Khalaf and 19-year-old Yousif Khairi Abu Sneineh.
The Israeli army spokesperson said that a total of five detentions were made in the Hebron district. She said one was detained in the town of Doha, one in the village of Beit Kahil, and that three were detained in the city of Hebron -- one of which was an alleged Hamas operative.
In the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, Israeli forces also detained 16-year-old Yousif Muhammad al-Ghalith from Jalazun refugee camp, according to PPS.
In the northern district of Qalqiliya, four Palestinians were detained, identified by PPS as 39-year-old Issam Salah Swelim, 24-year-old Khalid Swelim, 22-year-old Omar Ahmad Salim, and his 23-year-old brother Usama.
However, an Israeli army spokesperson said five Palestinians were detained in the district -- two in the city of Qalqiliya and three in the village of Azzun.
Israeli forces carry out detention raids across the occupied territory on a near-daily basis, with the UN recording an average of 95 weekly raids in the West Bank in 2016, and 100 weekly raids on average thus far in 2017.
According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, a total of 6,500 Palestinians were held in Israeli prisons as of January, including 300 minors. The group estimates some 40 percent of the male Palestinian population has been incarcerated by Israeli at some point in their lives.