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Israeli forces detain 7 Palestinians, raid media offices in overnight West Bank raids

July 13, 2017 12:32 P.M. (Updated: July 15, 2017 4:12 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces detained at least seven Palestinians during overnight raids across the occupied West Bank between Wednesday and Thursday, and raided the offices of Palestinian news agencies, confiscating computers and and equipment.

Hebrew media quoted the Israeli army as saying that one Palestinian was detained from the village of Qusra south of Nablus in the northern West Bank, two were detained in the village of Qalandiya in the central West Bank Ramallah district, one was detained in the nearby city of al-Bireh, while in the southern West Bank district of Hebron, two Palestinians were detained from the al-Arrub refugee camp, while one was detained in the village of Yatta.

Israeli forces also claimed to have found a locally made weapon and an explosive device during the raid on al-Arrub camp.

Meanwhile, local sources told Ma’an that Israeli forces raided the offices of al-Quds TV and Ram Sat Media in the Hebron district, and confiscated computers and documents in the predawn hours of Thursday.

Sources said that Israeli forces smashed the doors to the offices, searched and confiscated tools and equipment from the offices including computers and hard disks.

According to international press freedoms NGO the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Israeli soldiers confiscated memory cards, hard drives, and six computers from all al-Quds TV.

During the raid of Ram Sat Media, a production company affiliated with al-Quds TV, Israeli forces confiscated all the computers' hard drives.

The Israeli army did not respond to Ma'an's request for comment on the raids, but a military spokesperson told Israel's i24 News that the raid was a part of an investigation into the station's activity on "suspicion of incitement," and that "further steps" would be taken if "incitement material" were found on the confiscated hard disks.

"The Israeli army is not the arbiter of what constitutes journalism or suspected incitement," said CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney in the CPJ report. "The authorities should return all seized equipment immediately."

According to CPJ, the Israeli army has targeted al-Quds before. In 2012, an Israeli airstrike targeted the Gaza office of Al-Quds TV,  reportedly injuring at least nine journalists. Also in 2012, Israeli soldiers reportedly assaulted Al-Quds TV's Akram al-Natsha, along with three other journalists, as they were driving to cover the aftermath of a Palestinian teenager's death at the hands of an Israeli border guard.

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

According to Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer, there were 6,200 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons as of May.

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