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Israeli forces detain 9 Palestinians in predawn West Bank raids

Sept. 20, 2017 1:27 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 20, 2017 1:51 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces detained at least nine Palestinians before dawn on Wednesday in military raids across the occupied West Bank.

In Hebron in the southern West Bank, Israeli forces raided the offices of a local organization called the Friends of Palestinian Martyr’s Society in the city, according to Palestinian security sources cited by Wafa news agency.

Israeli forces ransacked the offices causing heavy damages to property and files before leaving the area, according to report, which did not mention any detentions being made in Hebron overnight.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an they were looking into the raid.

Meanwhile, a statement from the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPA) said that Israeli forces detained four Palestinians from Aida refugee camp in the Bethlehem district in the southern West Bank, and identified them as Malek al-Dibs, Sallum al-Dibs, Ihab Nayif Zbun, and Ahmad Hatem.

Israeli forces detained two Palestinians from the central Ramallah and al-Bireh district, identified by PPS as 17-year-old Laith Imad Abu Khurmeh from Kafr Ein village and Ihab Walid Hmeidat, 27, from al-Jalazun refugee camp.

Israeli forces also detained Raed Tarawa from Jerusalem city, according to PPS.

In Nablus city in the northern occupied West Bank, Israeli forces also detained four Palestinians, including three brothers from Balata refugee camp in eastern Nablus, Palestinian security sources said.

Israeli forces raided the refugee camp at dawn and broke into the house of Ali al-Najmi, and detained his three sons Mutasem, Yazan, and Saif al-Najmi.

Israeli forces also detained Ghazi al-Saudi after raiding and searching his family house in the camp.

An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed that nine Palestinians were detained overnight, but did not provide details on the locations of the raids.

The Israeli army also said in a statement that forces confiscated six M16 rifles, three guns, and 12 bombs and ammunition from Nablus city during the raids.

Meanwhile, locals sources said that Israeli forces raided Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank, raiding and searching several houses including a house belonging to Ayman al-Rukh and his mother’s house. Israeli soldiers interrogated residents, but detentions were reported.

Israeli raids in Palestinian towns, villages, and refugee camps are a daily occurrence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with a biweekly average of 85 search and detention raids carried out thus far in 2017, according to UN documentation.

Israeli forces detained 522 Palestinians, including 130 minors and 16 women, over the course of the month of August, according to a joint report released Palestinian institutions on Sunday.

The total number of Palestinians in Israeli prisons reached 6,300 prisoners, the report said, 64 of them women. Among them are 10 girls under the age of 18 and 300 underage boys, 450 administrative detainees imprisoned without charge or trial, and 12 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, the Palestinian parliament.

The raids also came as Israeli authorities implemented a "general closure" on the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, that started on Wednesday, as Israeli police also imposed heightened security measures in occupied East Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, Muslims prepared to celebrate the Muslim New Year, 1439 Hijra, on Thursday, with worship and prayers planned at Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem's Old City.

Severe restrictions on movement for Palestinians are typically implemented by Israeli authorities during Jewish holidays for alleged security purposes, accompanied by increased tensions around the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

The Palestinian Authority's Wafa news agency reported Tuesday that Israeli settler groups have called on their members to step up provocative visits inside the compound during the upcoming holidays.

Israel's imposition of closures on the Palestinian territory has severely affected the livelihoods of Palestinians who depend on entering Israel, or its illegal settlements, for employment opportunities, medical care, other reasons. Such policies have been strongly criticized by rights groups for amounting to collective punishment.
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