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Israeli police detain 31 during intense campaign against Issawiya

April 20, 2016 12:39 P.M. (Updated: April 20, 2016 7:04 P.M.)
An Israeli policeman stands looking over Issawiya in East Jerusalem, during a protest against cement blockades at the neighborhood entrances on Nov. 12, 2014. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli, File)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Wednesday began an intense campaign against Palestinian residents of the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya, detaining at least 31, the majority children, and summoning another 18 for questioning.

Muhammad Abu al-Hummus, a member of a local popular committee, told Ma'an that dozens of homes were stormed in the police raid, as officers ransacked their interiors and verbally abused their residents.

He said checkpoints were set up at the entrances to the neighborhood overnight, preventing residents from entering and leaving, and a helicopter and surveillance aircraft were seen during the raids.

Issawiya's local mukhtar, or village head, was summoned for questioning, while Israeli police forces also stormed commercial stores for inspection and seized two vehicles without notifying their owners.

Israeli police were also reported to have removed nationalistic slogans spray-painted on the neighborhood's walls, and Abu al-Hummus said that Arabic leaflets were distributed warning Issawiya's residents against "disturbing the peace."

The leaflet claimed the Hamas movement had "recently led an incitement campaign to confuse your children and get them to carry out terrorist attacks and activities disturbing the peace."

It also reminded Issawiya's residents of punitive procedures already carried out in neighborhood, including mass detentions and the closure of the family home of Fadi Alloun, who was shot dead after he allegedly attempted to carry out a knife attack on October -- an allegation his family strongly denies.

Israeli police confirmed a campaign had been initiated against the East Jerusalem neighborhood, with police spokesperson Luba al-Samri saying 31 "suspects" were detained and 18 summoned for questioning.

She accused some of the detainees of disturbing the peace and others of "terrorist" activities, including throwing stones or possessing weapons illegally.

Al-Samri said a pipe bomb was detonated during the police raid near an Issawiya mosque, although she added that no injuries were reported.

The police campaign comes two days after an explosive device went off in a Jerusalem bus, injuring 21 Israelis. Al-Samri did not mention the explosion in her statement, but the incident is under a gag order until May 19.

Muhammad Mahmoud, a lawyer with Palestinian prisoners' rights group Addameer, identified 25 Palestinians detained Wednesday, the majority childen:

Muhammad Atiyeh, Ali Amjad Atiyeh, Hussein Abed Darwish, Ahmad Yousif Ubeid, Yazan Khalid Naaji, Udayy Ali Dirbas, Muhammad Thaer Suleiman, Firas Mahmoud, Ahmad Jamjoum, Mahmoud Hijazi, Muhammad Khalid Mahmoud, Ahmad Atiyeh, Bashar Mahmoud, Ahmad Mahmoud, Yasin Subih, Dawood Atiyeh, Muntasir Jabir, Ahmad Abu Khalaf, Amir Mahmoud Dari, Mousa Darwish, Mahmoud Dirbas, Muatasim Abu Riyala, Khalid Mahmoud, Wadee Abu al-Hummus, and Mahmoud Mahmoud.

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