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Residents: Israeli forces detain 8 during pope visit

May 26, 2014 8:58 P.M. (Updated: May 26, 2014 9:00 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces detained eight Palestinians from the al-Suwwana neighborhood and Damascus Gate during restrictions for Pope Francis' visit to Jerusalem on Sunday, residents said.

A Ma'an reporter said that Israeli forces detained four youths of al-Suwwana and assaulted citizens before and after the pope’s visit.

They prevented them from being in front of their houses or in the alleys of neighborhoods, placed gates and spread soldiers in the streets and neighborhoods and on the rooftops of houses.

Witnesses said Israeli forces detained Raid al-Ammouri, Anas al-Imam, Ali Abu Gharbieh, and Ihab Abu Gharbieh while they were in front of their houses in al-Suwwana.

Israeli forces also assaulted Ahmad al-Ammouri, Tamer Abu Gharbieh, Ihab Abu Gharbieh, and child Ahmad Abu Gharbieh with their hands and their rifles.

After Francis left al-Suwwana, forces shot rubber-coated steel bullets at youths who were standing outside their doors to welcome the pope.

Residents of al-Suwwana said that Israeli forces shut down the roads with gates from 5 a.m to 8 p.m., shut down the main street and other streets, and prevented pedestrians and cars from passing as part of security.

Residents refused these procedures in their neighborhood and blamed Israel for the disputes.

They also prevented Christian families from welcoming and greeting the pope, residents said.

Israeli police detained four Christian young men and assaulted Christian families who tried to gather to welcome the pope.

An Israeli police spokesman said he was not aware of any arrests during the pope's visit.
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