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Israeli settlers, soliders raid West Bank villages

Settlers evicted from Alei Ayin
Ma'an News Agency

Dozens of armed Israeli settlers on June 10 attacked residents of Qusra village in the northern West Bank, Palestinian officials told Ma'an News Agency. PA settlement affairs official Ghassan Doughlas said settlers beat several residents at the entrance of the village, south of Nablus, and smashed the windscreen of a truck belonging to a local. Doughlas said the settlers were from "illegal" outpost Alei Ayin, which the Israeli army recently evacuated. Settlers from the same outpost are suspected of torching and vandalizing a mosque near Ramallah days earlier. Meanwhile, in the nearby village Iraq Burin, Israeli forces used tear gas and stun grenades to break up a weekly anti-settlement protest, residents told Ma'an. (Maan News Agency, June 12)

In operations across the West Bank, Israeli forces arrested eight Palestinians that same day, including a former Hamas minister, Wasfi Kabaha. Um Osama, the 50-year-old Kabaha’s wife, said Israeli soldiers broke into their home at 2 AM and took her husband to an undisclosed location. Kabaha, who had served as a minister for prisoner affairs in the former Hamas-led government deposed by President Mahmoud Abbas in June 2007, has been arrested several times. He was released from an Israeli prison in May 2010.

The Hamas movement said in a press statement that Kabaha is among 17 of its ministers and lawmakers that Israel holds as “bargaining chips” to use as leverage in the efforts to secure the release of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Israel has arrested three Hamas lawmakers in the last two weeks. (Arab News, June 10)

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