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Israeli forces raid NGO offices in Ramallah

Dec. 11, 2012 10:41 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 12, 2012 8:50 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces raided three civil society organizations in Ramallah early Tuesday, a Ma'an correspondent said.

Soldiers raided the offices of the Agricultural Work Committees, prisoners group Addameer, and the Union of Palestinian Women's Committees, located in Qaddura refugee camp.

Four laptops, one hard disk and a video camera were taken from Addameer's office, a statement from the group said. It is the first time the prisoners group has been raided since 2002, during the height of the second Palestinian intifada.

Israeli forces confiscated files and computer hardware from the women's committee before ransacking the office, witnesses said.

During the raid, clashes broke out with local youths and Israeli soldiers, who responded by firing tear gas.

Military forces also raided the offices of the Palestinian NGO Network, Ma'an's reporter said.

"This comes in the context of the UN's decision," Allam Jarrar of the Palestinian NGO Network told reporters on Tuesday morning.

"This a message by the Israelis to the Palestinians, saying that when they take decisions or form patriotic organizations to seek their freedom, the occupation will use aggression to try and stop us," he said.

Palestinian National Initiative chief Mustafa Barghouti said the Israeli raids were "piracy," adding that targeting civil society organizations that serve the Palestinian public is unacceptable.

An Israeli army spokesman said that "overnight IDF soldiers searched several offices in Ramallah which are affiliated with the Popular Front terrorist organization."

In February, Israeli forces raided two Palestinian television networks in Ramallah and briefly detained four employees, journalists said.

Reuters contributed to this report
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