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Israeli forces detain 37 Palestinians in East Jerusalem, West Bank raids

March 15, 2017 6:50 P.M. (Updated: March 15, 2017 10:42 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces detained at least 37 Palestinians during predawn raids across the occupied territory Wednesday, with a local prisoners group saying that raids in East Jerusalem targeted the family members of a Palestinian man slain by Israeli police two days prior while allegedly carrying out a stabbing attack.

The Palestinian community in occupied East Jerusalem has been subjected to what critics have called a “policy of reprisal" in recent months, referring to Israeli collective punishment measures in response to attacks or alleged attacks -- measures that rights groups say are illegal under international law.

The crackdown on Palestinian Jerusalemites has seen the escalation of violent night raids by Israeli police, carried out in breach of protocol and without proper search warrants.

Meanwhile, the UN recorded an average of 95 weekly raids in the West Bank in 2016, and 73 weekly raids on average thus far in 2017.

According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, 6,500 Palestinians were held in Israeli prisons as of January, 53 of whom were women and 300 of them minors. Some 420 Palestinians were detained throughout the month of February alone -- including 70 minors and 22 women and girls.

East Jerusalem

The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said in a statement that at least 11 Palestinians were detained in occupied East Jerusalem, the majority of whom were relatives of a resident of the Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood who was shot and killed and two days ago in the Old City by Israeli police who claimed the man carried out a stabbing attack.

The Silwan-based watchdog Wadi Hilweh information Center quoted lawyer Muhammad Mahmoud as saying that Israeli forces detained six young men and one minor from Jabal al-Mukabbir in predawn raids.

They were identified as Wajdi Khalil Shqeirat, 33, Mithqal Khalid Shqeirat, 21, Ahmad Amin Mashahra, 31, Hussein Bassam Shqeirat, 29, Muhammad Issam Shqeirat, 19, Bashar Bassam Shqeirat, 17, and Rias Ibrahim Shqeirat, 29.

In Issawiya, local follow-up committee member Muhammad Abu al-Hummus told the Wadi Hilweh Information Center that Israeli forces detained Muhammad Raafat Dari, Ahmad Abu Rmeila, and Ismail Muheisin.

In Silwan, locals told the center that Israeli forces detained 20-year-old Omar Firas al-Awar.

An Israeli police spokesperson could not be reached for comment on the raids.

Central West Bank

In the central occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem, the Israeli army said they detained three Palestinians in the town of Anata and one in al-Eizariya.

Meanwhile in the Ramallah district, PPS said that Amr Mahmoud Barghouthi was detained in the village Deir Ghassana, Yousif Muhammad Odeh was detained in Deir Ammar, Uday al-Tamimi and Mahmoud al-Ashweh in Nabi Saleh, Muhammad Salameh Khasib in Arura -- confirmed by the Israeli army who claimed Khasib was a Hamas operative -- and Laith al-Barghouthi in Deir Abu Mashaal.

In Qarawat Bani Hassan west of Salfit, PPS said that 22-year-old Yahya Abd al-Aziz Assi was detained, who the Israeli army also said was a Hamas operative.

Southern West Bank

PPS said that six Palestinians were detained from the Hebron district, identified in the statement as Musab Nidal Zghayyar, Khabab Munther Abu Sneineh, Abdullah Ahmad Zghayyar, Wael Yousif Abu Ayyash, Ibrahim Muhammad Awwad and Ali Muhammad al-Zaaqiq.

An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed six Palestinians were detained in the Hebron area, saying three were detained in Beit Ummar, two alleged Hamas operatives in Hebron city, and one alleged Hamas operative in Rabud.

During a violent detention raid south of Bethlehem in Duheisha refugee camp, which erupted into clashes leaving five locals injured by Israeli live fire, Israeli forces detained Murad Zghari and Bahaa Maslat. An Israeli army spokesperson only confirmed one detention in Duheisha.

Elsewhere in the Bethlehem area, one Palestinian was detained in Husan, one in Bethlehem city, and one in Beit Jala, according to an Israeli army spokesperson.

Northern West Bank

According to PPS, two Palestinians were detained in the village of Tell southwest of Nablus, identified as Yasser Bilal Yamin, a student at the al-Najah University, and Musab al-Hindi.

In the village of Rummana north of Jenin, Israeli forces detained 45-year-old Ahmad Fayyad Bushnaq and his 38-year-old brother Hussam Fayyad Bushnaq -- both former prisoners -- after their homes were raided.

Locals in Rummana said that Israeli forces prevented them from heading to their workplaces after declaring the village a closed military zone.

An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the four detentions in Tell and Rummana.
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