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Israeli forces detain 5 teens in and around Bethlehem

Nov. 17, 2013 12:21 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 17, 2013 4:06 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Sunday morning detained five Palestinian teenagers in the Bethlehem district, locals said.

Witnesses told Ma'an that Israeli forces raided several houses in central Bethlehem in addition to al-Ibidiya village.

Those detained were identified as Muhammad Awwad Mousa Awwad, 17, Muhammad Jamal Nemr al-Azza, 17, and Mahmoud Ali Shwaiki, 18, Abdullah Yousef Shtaiwi, 16, and Ahmad Jamal Abu Sarhan, 16.

The detainees were taken to unknown location, locals said.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli army confirmed that soldiers detained three people in central Bethlehem and two in al-Ibadiya, but could not confirm that they were teenagers.

In March, a report by the UN Children's Fund described mistreatment of Palestinian children in Israeli prisons as "widespread."

UNICEF's March report, entitled "Children in Israeli Military Detention," said Israel was the only country in the world where children were systematically tried in military courts and gave evidence of practices it said were "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment."

"Ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized," it concluded, outlining 38 recommendations.

Over the past decade, Israeli forces have arrested, interrogated and prosecuted around 7,000 children between 12 and 17, mostly boys, UNICEF found, noting the rate was equivalent to "an average of two children each day."
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