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Israeli forces arrest Hamas-affiliated legislator in West Bank

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Palestinian Hamas-affiliated lawmaker Muhammad Hassan Abu Tir (L)

Israeli military forces have arrested a legislator affiliated to the Gaza-based Hamas resistance movement along with more than a dozen other Palestinians during separate raids across the occupied West Bank.

Local sources, who asked not to be named, said Israeli soldiers raided the northernmost Palestinian neighborhood of Kafr 'Aqab, located two kilometers from Ramallah, on Friday and broke into the home of Muhammad Hassan Abu Tir, also known as Sheikh Abu Mus'ab, and detained him.

Abu Tir is a member of the Hamas-affiliated Change and Reform bloc in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC).

Israeli forces have detained the 66-year-old lawmaker on multiple occasions in the past. 

Abu Tir, who has spent at least 32 years in Israeli custody on and off since he was first detained in 1974, was last arrested on January 28, 2016 from his home and released on May 30 this year.

Also on Friday, Israeli forces broke into several homes in the predominantly Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan on the outskirts of the Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds, arresting two people.

A Palestinian was also detained in Qalandiya refugee camp, south of Ramallah, sparking violent clashes. A protester suffered a gunshot wound in the leg, and was transferred to Ramallah Medical Complex for treatment.

A  Palestinian was also shot and injured during a military raid in the town of Beit Fajjar, located eight kilometers south of Bethlehem. 

Israeli forces carry out night raids across the occupied Palestinian territory on a nearly daily basis. 

More than 7,000 Palestinians are reportedly held at Israeli jails. Hundreds of the inmates have apparently been incarcerated under the practice of administrative detention, a policy under which Palestinian inmates are kept in Israeli detention facilities without trial or charge.

This file photo shows Palestinian prisoners at Megiddo Prison in northern Israel. (Photo by AFP)

Some Palestinian prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to eleven years.

The Palestinian inmates regularly stage hunger strikes in protest at the administrative detention policy and their harsh prison conditions.

According to reports, at least 13 Palestinian lawmakers are currently imprisoned in Israeli detention facilities. Nine of them are being held without trial under the so-called administrative detention.

The occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed new tensions ever since Israeli forces introduced restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds in August 2015.

More than 300 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces in the ongoing tensions since the beginning of October 2015.

The Tel Aviv regime has tried to change the demographic makeup of Jerusalem al-Quds over the past decades by constructing settlements, destroying historical sites and expelling the local Palestinian population. Palestinians say the Israeli measures are aimed at paving the way for the Judaization of the city.

The al-Aqsa Mosque compound is a flashpoint Islamic site, which is also holy to Jews. The mosque is Islam’s third holiest site after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.

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