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Israeli forces invade Bil’in, seize two teenagers

Ma’an News

29 June 2009

Seventy Israeli soldiers invaded the West Bank village of Bil’in at 2:30am on Monday morning, raiding houses and eventually abducting two teenage boys.

According to Iyad Burnat of the village’s Popular Committee, local and international activists (with the International Solidarity Movement) confronted the soldiers, who then declared the entire village a “closed military zone,” threatening anyone who leaves their house with arrest.

Burnat said that 16-year-olds Mohsen Khatib and Hamoda Yasin were seized from their homes in the village, which is known for its persistent weekly demonstrations against the construction of the Israeli separation wall. The wall isolates the villagers from more than half of their land.

He also said that Palestinian activist Haitham Khatib was videotaping the raids when Israeli soldiers shoved him against a wall and threatened him with arrest. Two international activists were able to wrest him from the grasp of the solders.

Burnat added that the soldiers invaded his house, threatening to arrest his nine-year-old son if he did not hand over a camera. Several people, including two internationals, intervened, blocking the soldiers’ path, eventually compelling them to leave the house.

The Israeli military has said that it arrested 14 “wanted Palestinian terror suspects” during raids in the West Bank on Sunday night.

Israeli forces have raided the village nearly every night for the past two weeks, arresting seven people.