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Israeli forces arrest four prominent grassroots activists during Nablus night raid

9 December 2009

The Israeli military kidnapped nine Palestinians from the Nablus region in the early hours of Tuesday, 9 December 2009, including four leading civil society activists.

The Israeli army in the force of 200 armed soldiers invaded several districts of Nablus city, refugee camps and a nearby village in a coordinated operation last night, raiding houses of targeted grassroots activists and arrested nine. Eight of them are currently held at the Huwara military detention center, another one has been detained at the Hasharon prison.

Amongst the arrested are four leading grass roots organizers from Nablus, a fifth activist from Awarta village and four children from Al-Ein Refugee Camp. Their families remain in the dark as why these activists have been taken from their homes, though the targeting of active members of civil society is immediately apparent.

Wa’el Al Faqeeh Abu As Sabe, 45 years old, was taken from his home at 1am last night when 50 Israeli soldiers entered his house in the north of Nablus, aiming their weapons at Al Faqeeh and his family. He is renowned for his championing of non-violent struggle, and years of work in grassroots community activism, reaching out to all Palestinians across the political spectrum. The Israeli military District Co-ordination Office threatened Wa’el a month ago that if he continued organising protests over land theft by settlers in Iraq Burin village, he would be imprisoned.

Mayasar Itiany, 45, and her brother Abdul-Nasser Itiany, 38, were taken Tuesday night when their home was stormed by 20 Israeli soldiers and a further 100 surrounding the house. Mayasar is known for her work with the Nablus women’s union and campaigning for prisoners’ rights. Her brother is a well-known grassroots activist in the Nablus region.

Mussa Salama, 47 years old, who is active in the Labour Committee of Medical Relief for Workers was seized from his home in Nablus and Nabih Abdul-Aziz Awwas, 47 years, was taken from his home in Awarta village. Four young boys were also arrested in a raid on Al-Ein Refugee Camp outside Nablus: Mahmud Huleiman, Muhammad Ibrahim Dahbour, Yousef Raja, Rubi Abu Khalifa.