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Israeli forces detain 6 Palestinians from ICRC headquarters sit-in

Jan. 6, 2016 12:04 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 6, 2016 5:36 P.M.)
Samir Abu Eisha and Hijazi Abu Sbeih started the sit-in to protest a decision by the Israeli authorities to deport them from Jerusalem. (MaanImages)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces on Wednesday morning stormed the International Committee of the Red Cross' headquarters in occupied East Jerusalem and detained six Palestinian activists staging a sit-in on site.

Amjad Abu Asab, a spokesperson for a local prisoners' committee, told Ma'an that Israeli forces had stormed the ICRC's grounds in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and detained Samir Abu Eisha, 28, Hijazi Abu Sbeih, 28, and four others from a tent in the courtyard.

He said that Abu Eisha and Abu Sbeih had started the sit-in several days earlier to protest a decision by the Israeli authorities to deport them from Jerusalem for a period of five to six months for alleged security reasons.

The two Palestinians earlier described the deportation order as equivalent to the "death penalty," banning them from their community, their work, and their city. The slogan of their sit-in was "not leaving," which they printed on fliers and posters.

Abu Asab said the deportation order had come down from the Israel's Home Front Command, a branch of Israel's military.

ICRC spokesperson Nadia Dibsy told Ma'an that the detention raid was "regrettable," adding that the ICRC "does not enjoy any diplomatic immunity to help prevent such a detention raid."

She said that ICRC, which regularly provides space in its headquarters for sit-in protests, would seek to follow up Abu Sbeih and Abu Eisha's cases.

An Israeli police spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

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