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Israeli police detain 2 Palestinian minors for Molotov cocktail possession

April 22, 2017 5:49 P.M. (Updated: April 24, 2017 7:04 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli border guards detained two 12-year-old Palestinians late Friday night, with an Israeli police spokesperson claiming the two were carrying a bag of Molotov cocktails as they approached an Israeli military base near the illegal Etzion settlement in the Bethlehem area of the southern occupied West Bank.

Israeli police said the two boys were residents of al-Duheisha refugee camp in southern Bethlehem, with local sources identifying them as Ahmad Zighari and Yazan Abu Salim, both 12 years of age.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a written statement in Arabic that officers stationed at the military base spotted the two "suspects" approaching, with one carrying a bag in his hand, which "aroused suspicions from the officers who hurried to detain the two without using force." 

"In the bag one of the suspects was carrying, there were several fire bombs ready for use," al-Samri said.

She added that sometime after Ahmad and Yazan were detained, "an unidentified suspect approach the military based and hurled a fire bomb and fled the scene. No casualties were reported and investigations are ongoing."

Al-Samri reported a similar incident on Wednesday, when two other Palestinians from al-Duheisha were detained in the area for allegedly throwing Molotov cocktails at a border guard patrol.

Approximately 6,300 Palestinians are currently held in Israeli prisons, including some 300 minors, and 500 Palestinians who have not been charged or tried, according to Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer.

Right groups have widely documented the abuse of Palestinian children by Israeli forces and the harsh interrogation practices used to force their confessions, which has long been the target of criticism by the international community.

Palestinian stone throwers face harsh penalties by Israeli authorities, with Israel passing laws in 2015 allowing for up to 20 years in prison if charged with throwing stones at vehicles and a minimum of three years for the act of throwing a stone at an Israeli -- legislation rights groups say was designed specifically to target Palestinians, as Israelis and settlers are rarely prosecuted under the same standards of the law.
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