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Palestinian youth detained near Ibrahimi Mosque for alleged knife possession

March 4, 2017 5:11 P.M. (Updated: March 6, 2017 8:18 P.M.)
(File)
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces afternoon detained a young Palestinian man near the Ibrahimi Mosque in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron on Saturday afternoon, for allegedly hiding a knife under his clothes, according to an Israeli police spokesperson.

Luba al-Samri said in a written statement in Arabic that a Palestinian man in his twenties was detained while he was walking towards Ibrahimi Mosque.

However, local sources identified him as a teenager named Muhammad Ali Salim Ballut, from the town of Bani Naim east of Hebron. His exact age remained unknown.

According to al-Samri, the unidentified young man had been inspected at the Israeli military checkpoint at the entrance to the mosque earlier Saturday morning, when Israeli soldiers did not find any "suspicious objects" on him.

Upon his return to the mosque later in the day, "Israeli border guard officers inspected him a second time and found a knife under his clothes," she said.

Israeli forces have detained scores of Palestinians for allegedly being in possession of knives in recent months following a spate of alleged and actual small-scale knife attacks by Palestinians that surged in the fall of 2015. Between Oct. 1, 2015 and Sept. 30, 2016, at least 117 Palestinians were killed while committing or allegedly attempting to commit attacks.

While Israel alleges many of those were attempting to attack Israelis when they were shot, Palestinians and rights groups have disputed Israel's version of events in a number of cases.

Hebron in particular grew as the epicenter of upheaval, with a number of Palestinians, many of them women, having been shot at the same checkpoint near the Ibrahimi Mosque.

Mistreatment of Palestinians has been common since the city was divided in the 1990s after a US-born settler, Baruch Goldstein, massacred 29 Palestinians inside the Ibrahimi Mosque.

The majority of the city was placed under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, while the Old City and surrounding areas were placed under Israeli military control in a sector known as H2.
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