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Video: Israeli soldiers round up children in Hebron

March 20, 2013 5:51 A.M. (Updated: March 22, 2013 5:06 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli rights group B'Tselem on Wednesday said Israel's mass arrest of children in Hebron was "unacceptable," and released a video of the detentions.

The video shows soldiers forcefully arresting schoolchildren, one of whom is dragged along the ground by a group of soldiers, as the children's relatives protest.

"This type of mass arrest of a group of minors, not on the basis of individual suspicions is unacceptable, even if the minors are formally over the age of criminal responsibility," B'Tselem said in a statement.

Israeli forces on Wednesday detained some 30 students who were on their way to school in the southern area of Hebron, locals said.

Locals told Ma'an that the students were transferred to Kiryat Arba police station, and that Israeli forces were detaining every student passing Tareq Bin Zeyad street.

Sources from the Palestinian military liaison department told Ma'an they were making calls with the Israeli side to release the students.

An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma'an that soldiers "operated in the area today in order to contain rock hurling at security forces" following a recent increase in "rioting."

She said Palestinian minors had hurled rocks at soldiers at a checkpoint earlier Wednesday.

"A number of the Palestinian minors were detained on location, and seven were taken for questioning by Israeli police. The rest were released immediately."

She did not say how many children were detained initially.

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama, who arrived in Israel on Wednesday, met with Israeli children during a welcoming ceremony at the residence of his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres.

"Their dreams are much the same as children everywhere. In another sense though their lives reflect the difficult reality that Israelis face every single day. They want to be safe, they want to be free from rockets that hit their homes or their schools," Obama said after the meeting.

"They want to live in peace free from terror and threats that are so often directed at the Israeli people. That’s the future they deserve. That’s the vision that is shared by both our nations."

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