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Israeli forces target Hamas, Islamic Jihad members in northern West Bank raids

Oct. 11, 2016 3:19 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 11, 2016 7:40 P.M.)
JENIN (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces detained at least eight Palestinians, including at three alleged members of the Hamas movement as well as the son of a prominent Islamic Jihad leader as soldiers attempted to detain the father, in overnight raids between Monday night and Tuesday morning in areas in the northern occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said in a statement that Israeli forces detained Saif al-Din al-Idrisi, who had been one of six who declared a hunger strike in a Palestinian Authority prison last month, and Muhammad Izzat Jaber from the district of Tulkarem, as well as 20 year-old Yassir Shteiwi from the district of Qalqiliya.

An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed one detention was made in the city of Tulkarem, and informed Ma’an that another Palestinians was detained in the village of Iktaba in the wider Tulkarem district.

The spokesperson added that three alleged Hamas operatives were detained in the Jenin district, one in the village of Qabatiya, one in the village of Jaba, and one in the city of Jenin. Two others were detained in the city of Jenin -- one of which was a member of the Islamic Jihad, identified by PPS and local sources as Yahya Bassam al-Saadi, son of the prominent Islamic Jihad member Sheikh Bassam al-Saadi.

PPS identified the other four detained in the Jenin district as Tamer Abd al-Ghani Sabanaa, Abd al-Salam Jamal Abu al-Heja, Ahmad Saleem Salatma, and Muhammad Mutasem al-Sabagh.

According to a local radio station Sawt al-Asra (Voice of the Prisoners), Israeli forces raided Jenin refugee camp to detain Bassam al-Saadi, who has long been pursued by Israeli intelligence, and has spent a number of years in Israeli custody between actual prison sentences and administrative detention sentences -- internment without trial or charge.

Al-Saadi's daughter Zuhour told the radio station that Israeli forces "ruthlessly” broke into and ransacked the house at 4 a.m., assaulting her brothers Fathi and Yahya before they detained Yahya, failing to detain Bassam al-Saadi himself.

Bassam al-Saadi’s wife Nawal has also served several months in Israeli custody, while their sons Abd al-Karim and Ibrahim, and his stepson Abd al-Rahman have all been killed by Israeli forces, according to Sawt al-Asra.

Meanwhile, al-Saadi has also been pursued by Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces for years.

He said in an interview in 2013 that contrary to the PA’s claims that an ongoing crackdown on Jenin refugee camp was related to criminal activity and drug trafficking, he and members of his family were being targeted simply for their political affiliation to the Islamic Jihad, and accused the PA of coordinating with Israel to arrest them.

The interview came shortly after Israeli forces detained his brother Ghassan and his sound Suhaib, hours after Palestinian security forces had failed to detain all three of them in a raid into the Jenin refugee camp.

In June, armed clashes erupted in Jenin refugee camp after Palestinian security forces came to arrest another Islamic Jihad leader Sheikh Muhammad al-Saadi and opened fire during celebrations for Yahya, who had just been released from Israeli prison.

Palestinian political factions have repeatedly accused the Fatah-dominated PA of “escalating security collaboration” with the Israeli authorities through politically-motivated arrests and “adopting a revolving door policy" funneling Palestinians from PA jails into Israeli prisons.

Meanwhile, Israel considers the majority of Palestinian political parties to be “terrorist organizations." As a result, most Palestinians who participate in the political arena in the occupied Palestinian territory risk being imprisoned by Israeli authorities.

The Israeli army’s central command said that the Palestinian security forces were responsible for approximately 40 percent of all arrests of “suspected terrorists,” Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported in May.

According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, there were 7,000 Palestinian political prisoners, including 700 in administrative detention, held in Israeli jails and prisons as of August. The group estimates that some 40 percent of the male Palestinian population has served time in Israeli custody.
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