Eight men were arrested in the village of Azzoun today as a result of an early morning raid by Israeli soldiers. Israeli jeeps entered the sleeping village at approximately 2:30am, shooting sound bombs and ordering residents to evacuate their houses, forcing families with babies as young as 2 months old into the freezing rain under threat of death. With the houses emptied, soldiers proceeded to enter and ransack premises, leaving residents in the street for up to half an hour.
The eight arrestees were aged between seventeen and twenty-five, with many of the arrests seemingly random.
The family of one of the arrested men reported that around 30 Israeli soldiers entered their home between 2:30 and 3am, shooting sound bombs into the house despite the fact that the front door was open. Soldiers ravaged the house before arresting the eldest son, aged twenty-five, a Palestinian Authority soldier on holidays with his family.
Another young man, aged twenty-one, was taken from his home whilst his family were forced out into the rain for fifteen minutes. Approximately 30 Israeli soldiers broke down the door of the family home, demanding that the parents give up all of their sons to the soldiers. The only son at home was seized and dragged out of the house wearing merely light pajamas, the soldiers ignoring the family’s pleas to allow him to take warm clothes.
Residents advise that this is common practice for the Israeli soldiers. “They always come in the winter after midnight”, said on resident. “They search the houses and take the young men aged around twenty years old. If they do not find the sons, they destroy everything – food, clothes, furniture, everything. Sometimes they even break the walls.”
The father of one of the arrestees reported that his family is used to random arrests – that he, his father and his grandfather have all been arrested many times for no reason. Once, Israeli soldiers even arrested his thirteen year old son, keeping him in detention for one week before releasing him.
None of the families have any information as to the whereabouts of their sons. No reasons were given for the arrests, and as such families do not know if the youths have been charged or held in Administrative Detention (detention without charge or trial). They suppose they will have to wait up to twelve days before lawyers will have access to their sons, if at all.