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Israeli forces detain popular resistance coordinator in Bil'in

Jan. 28, 2010 10:53 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 30, 2010 9:18 A.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - In what organizers are calling "the highest profile arrest of the recent wave of repression against West Bank popular struggle," Israeli forces detained Popular Committee member Mohammed Khatib from the village of Bil'in before sunrise Thursday.

According to fellow members of the Popular Committee, Israeli forces entered the village at 2am, and stormed Khatib's home, waking Mohammad, his wife and four young children. The home was quickly searched and troops retreated from the area shortly after the arrest.

Several witnesses and international solidarity workers reported seeing five military jeeps return to the home approximately 30 minutes after the detention. According to a statement, "six soldiers forced their way into the house again, where Khatib's children sat in terror, and conducted another, very thorough search of the premises, without showing a search warrant. During the search, Khatib's phone and many documents were seized, including papers from Bil'in's legal procedures in the Israel High Court."

Witnesses said soldiers left a note "saying that documents suspected as 'incitement materials' were seized," the statement said.

Khatib was detained on 3 August, and charged with incitement and stone throwing. He was released two weeks after the detention, when a judge in the Israeli military court found evidence against him was falsified. Lawyers proved Khatib was out of the country at the time the army alleged he was photographed throwing stones during a demonstration.

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