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Israeli police, inspectors storm home of Samir Issawi

Jan. 21, 2014 2:21 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 22, 2014 2:56 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli police officers on Tuesday raided the East Jerusalem home of freed Palestinian prisoner Samir Issawi along with inspectors from the Jerusalem municipality.

Issawi's father told Ma'an that a large number of police officers and municipality inspectors broke into his home and took photos of both the interior and the exterior before they left.

He pointed out that his two-story house was built in 1998 and that his family had previously paid a fine of 60,000 shekels ($17,200) for building it without a license.

The family, he added, has been trying "in vain" for years to obtain a construction license.

Issawi's father added that he is worried that the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem might demolish the building and displace the 14 members of his family that live there.

He added that an apartment belonging to the family was demolished in 2013, prior to completion.

Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Israel destroyed more than 663 Palestinian properties in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 2013, displacing 1101 people, according to UNOCHA.

Israeli intelligence officers also broke into Issawi's home on Monday and handed Samir a summons demanding that he visit Israeli intelligence at the Russian Compound in West Jerusalem on Jan. 27.

Issawi was released as part of an agreement in which he ended a 266-day hunger strike in April, during which time he became an international cause célèbre who focused attention on the plight of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Issawi's hunger strike was one of the longest in history, and brought him close to death.

He was originally arrested by Israeli forces during the Second Intifada, but was among hundreds of prisoners released in 2011 as part of a deal to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

The release agreement confined him to Jerusalem, but he was re-arrested in July 2012 after traveling to a village that is mostly in Jerusalem but also partially in the West Bank.
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