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20 Palestinians detained in Jerusalem amidst tightened Passover security

April 22, 2016 10:01 A.M. (Updated: April 22, 2016 5:05 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces continued their detention campaign across occupied East Jerusalem in predawn raids Friday, detaining at least 20 Palestinians, as the Israeli authorities announced tightened security measures for the Jewish holiday of Passover.

Local sources identified those detained in East Jerusalem early Friday as Mahmoud Dweik -- whose wedding was scheduled to take place Friday, Omar al-Zaanin,Thaer Zghayyar, Ahmad al-Hashlamun, Muhammad Najib, Ahmad Rajabi, Mumen Hashim, Ahmad Badriyyeh, Mamun Ghaith, Muhammad al-Shalabi, Ahmad al-Bayyumi, Muhammad Ziyad, Muhammad Jaber, Ahmad al-Shawish, Mahmoud al-Shawish, Ibrahim al-Natsheh, Munir al-Ajliouni, Amjad Abu Snineh, Muhammad Bayyumi, and Ahmad Abu Ghazaleh.

The raids come after Israeli forces injured 16 Palestinians with rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas during predawn raids in occupied East Jerusalem Thursday.

Israeli police announced tightened security measures in a statement Friday morning for the Jewish Passover holiday, with extra police units deployed in public areas and an emphasis on East Jerusalem's Old City.

Israeli forces also implemented complete closures on crossings in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip for Palestinians on the holiday. The closure began midnight Thursday and is to be in effect until midnight Saturday.

Only humanitarian, medical, and other exceptional cases would be allowed to cross after obtaining approval from Israel's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the police statement added.

Israeli forces have intensified raids in East Jerusalem in the past several days since an explosive device went off in a Jerusalem bus on Monday, injuring 20 Israelis and killing a 19-year-old Palestinian responsible for for the attack.

Separately, Israeli forces detained two Palestinians in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron overnight Thursday for suspected illegal activities, an Israeli army spokesperson said.

An average of 96 search and detention operations have been carried out by Israeli forces in the occupied Palestinian territory since the beginning of 2016. According to prisoners' right group Addameer, there are 7,000 Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons, and 700 Palestinians being held in administrative detention -- internment without trial or charge.
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