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5 injured, 30 detained as Israeli forces storm Duheisha camp

June 20, 2014 9:30 P.M. (Updated: June 21, 2014 5:38 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Five Palestinians were injured and around 30 detained in Bethlehem's Duheisha refugee camp early Friday morning after clashes broke out when hundreds of Israeli soldiers stormed the area in a military raid early Friday.

Local sources said that approximately 1,000 Israeli soldiers encircled the camp and the nearby area of Al-Salam southwest of Bethlehem overnight Friday as part of a massive search operation being carried out for three Israeli youths who went missing last week.

During the raid, Israeli snipers deployed atop nearby buildings, while plainclothes special forces deployed in nearby streets including in the nearby al-Jebel area.

Medical sources said that Malek Mustafa al-Sharif, 22, was wounded by rubber-coated steel bullets during the clashes.

In addition, an Israeli military patrol vehicle ran over four youths from the camp, including Musa al-Khamour, 22, Hassan Mujahid Abu Joudah, and Marcel Mahmoud Zaghout, 19, who was arrested after he was struck in the head by the vehicle. The fourth injured individual was not identified.

Israeli forces detained 30 Palestinians during the raid including Bethlehem Mufti Sheikh Abd al-Majid Atallah and freed prisoner Aisa Abed Rabbo, who was released in October as part of a deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in which 104 Palestinian prisoners detained prior to the 1994 Oslo Accords would be let go in exchange for the restart of peace talks.

The detainees were assembled and held in the courtyard of the nearby Palestine Ahliya University during the raid.

A number of detainees were held and then released shortly, including Khaled al-Seifi and Aisa Abed Rabbo.

In addition to the detainees, Israeli soldiers handed Muhammad Abd al-Karim Ayyad and Muhammad Amarnah orders to meet with Israeli intelligence at the Gush Etzion settlement near Bethlehem.

Additionally, Israeli forces stormed the nearby villages of Al-Louz and Artas during the raids, conducting house-to-house searches and combing farmland and open areas nearby.

Local sources in Artas estimated that 300 soldiers were present in the village during the raids.

Earlier on Friday morning, Israeli forces closed the Beit Jala DCO checkpoint near Bethlehem as well.

An Israeli military spokesman confirmed the raid, saying that they were a part of "searches for illegal weaponry."

The spokesman added that during the raid there was "rock throwing and hand grenades by instigators," and Israeli forces responded with "rubber bullets and live fire," identifying "three hits."

He added that 25 suspects were detained overnight in the whole region.
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