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Violent detention raid in East Jerusalem sparks clashes

March 6, 2017 2:13 P.M. (Updated: March 6, 2017 5:38 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- A predawn Israeli police raid to detain five Palestinians in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya sparked clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian youth on Monday morning, according to local sources who said police violently assaulted the five Palestinians before apprehending them. Three other Palestinians were also detained in the East Jerusalem raids.

Member of a follow-up committee in East Jerusalem Muhammad Abu al-Hummus said that Israeli soldiers raided Issawiya several times on Sunday and were heavily deployed at all entrances to the neighborhood.

He said Israeli forces fired sound bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets in the neighborhood and removed posters hung in the area celebrating the release of local Palestinians from Israeli prison.

Lawyer Muhammad Mahmoud identified the five detainees as 52-year-old Ahmad Moussa Darwish, 42-year-old Ibrahim Moussa Darwish, 29-year-old Mansour Hassan Darwish, 25-year-old Muhammad Nihad Darwish, and 23-year-old Saeb Kayid Dirbas, as quoted by local organization the Wadi Hilweh Information Center.

Separately, Israeli forces also raided the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.

According to Wadi Hilweh Information Center, named after an area in Silwan where the organization is based, Israeli forces searched several houses in Silwan and detained two Palestinians, identified as 20 year-old Moussa Muhammad Odeh and Diya Odeh.

Three Palestinian minors, all aged 17, were also ordered to appear for interrogation with Israeli intelligence. Wadi Hilweh Information Center identified them as Muslim Moussa Odeh, Muhammad Issa al-Qaq, and Ahmad Muhammad Froukh.

The center had reported Sunday that Israeli police also extended the detention of Khalid al-Zir, an activist affiliated with the center who was detained for "obstructing police work" after he filmed Israeli forces raiding houses in Silwan earlier Sunday evening.

An Israeli police spokesperson could not be reached for comment on the raids in Silwan and Issawiya, though Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said in a written statement that three Palestinians were detained in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina.

She said the three were "caught red-handed" in a drug deal. She said two of them were released after being imposed with "certain conditions" while the third, suspected of selling the drugs to the other two, remained in detention.

In recent months, Israeli forces have escalated a crackdown on Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem through hundreds of violent overnight raids, handing down harsh prison sentences to local youth, in addition to a demolition campaign of Palestinian homes as illegal Israeli settlements in the area continue to expand.

During one large-scale predawn raid last month that targeted the families of Palestinians who were either slain or incarcerated after carrying out or allegedly carrying out attacks, one family detailed their violent assault by masked Israeli police who broke into their home at 3 a.m.

Israeli daily Haaretz recently reported that intelligence-gathering raids in East Jerusalem were made in breach of protocol and constituted a violation of residents’ basic rights.

The report said that over the past two months, some 500 Palestinian homes had been raided in East Jerusalem by Israeli police officers who did not present warrants, contrary to proper procedures.
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