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Israeli forces detain 21 Palestinians, including blind man, in predawn military raids

June 19, 2017 2:38 P.M. (Updated: June 19, 2017 4:57 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces detained at least 21 Palestinians, including a blind man, in predawn raids Monday, while Israeli police revealed that four Palestinians had been detained in recent days for their alleged involvement in a counterfeiting ring.

A Palestinian security source identified three detainees from Bethlehem city as Anwar Abd al-Hamid Adawi, 60, and his sons Midhat, 26, and Ibrahim, 22, official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported. A statement from the Palestinian Prisoner's Society (PPS) and an Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the three detentions in Bethlehem.

In the village of Husan west of Bethlehem, Muhammad Samih Hamamra, 22, and Muhammad Hassan Hamamra were detained after Israeli forces ransacked their family homes, according to PPS and Wafa’s report. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed just one detention in Husan.

In Beit Sahur east of Bethlehem, Israeli forces also detained Ismail Hassan Ubayyat, and Muhammad Ibrahim Abu Freiha, 36, PPS said, detentions which were confirmed by the Israeli army spokesperson.

The Israeli army spokesperson also said that one alleged “Hamas operative” was detained in the village of Deir Samit in the southern West Bank district of Hebron.

She added that three Palestinians were also detained in the central Ramallah district -- one in Ramallah city’s Semiramis neighborhood and two in the city of al-Bireh. PPS identified two detainees from Ramallah as Muhammad Abu Awwad and Yunis Hawamda, without specifying the precise locations of their detentions.

PPS said that six Palestinians were detained in the northern Nablus district, identified as Samir Abd al-Karim Hashash, 25, Fathi Zahi al-Aridha, 25, Abd al-Rahman Shihada, Fawzi Muhammad Awwad, Jihad Ata Uweis, and 24-year-old blind man Muhammad Sayil Ishtayya. According to the Israeli army, two of the Nablus-area detentions were carried out in the village of Salem.

In Qalqiliya city, also in the north, Israeli forces detained 18-year-old Muhammad Amin al-Sheikh, according to the PPS statement. In the northernmost district of Jenin, Adam Walid Sharqawi detained, PPS said.

At least two Palestinians were detained in occupied East Jerusalem, the PPS statement added, without providing further details.

Meanwhile, Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that over the past few days, Israeli forces uncovered a counterfeiting lab in the Hebron area.

“Palestinian suspects forged credit cards, Israeli identity cards, passports, land deeds, checks, and other (documents) in two workshops -- one in Tarqumiya and one Hebron city," al-Samri said.

A Palestinian suspect in his fifties was detained in Tarqumiya the same day Israeli forces stormed the workshop, while during the raid of the Hebron city workshop, Israeli forces allegedly found materials and equipment used to forge checks worth about 238 euros, 60 credit cards, a number of driver’s licenses, and other documents.

Three Palestinian suspects were detained during the raid, one of whom was a minor.

“The suspects revealed during interrogation that they had obtained Israeli credit card numbers from Palestinians who work at gas stations in Israel, who provided the numbers in return for money. (The counterfeiters) would then forge the credit cards and use them to transfer money from foreign bank accounts of the original owners,” al-Samri wrote.

Israeli raids in Palestinian towns, villages, and refugee camps are a daily occurrence in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Israeli authorities carried out an average of 95 army raids a week in Palestinian communities since the beginning of the year, according to United Nations documentation.

According to prisoners rights group Addameer, 6,200 Palestinians were being held in Israeli prison as of May.
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