Prominent Palestinian writer among dozens arrested by Israel

In fresh wave of arrests, Israel detains Ahmad Qatamesh and 31 others, including university students.

    Palestinians in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah stage a demonstration in support of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails [Anadolu Agency]
    Palestinians in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah stage a demonstration in support of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails [Anadolu Agency]

    Israeli forces detained a prominent Palestinian writer during a raid on his home in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, according to residents.

    Soldiers raided Ahmad Qatamesh's house in the city of al-Bireh and took him into custody, the residents said.

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    The reason for his arrest remains unclear.

    The Israeli army has for years accused Qatamesh of being a member of the left-wing Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) group.

    The 69-year-old is no stranger to Israeli arrests. His first was in the 1970s when he was jailed for four years.

    In 1992 he was arrested again and spent the next six years behind bars on administrative detention - the longest detention without trial or charge of a Palestinian prisoner.

    In 2017, rights group Amnesty International called him a "prisoner of conscience" after he was arrested again and held without trial.

    The Israeli army has recently arrested several Palestinian activists in the occupied West Bank, alleging it is searching for "wanted" Palestinians, triggering clashes with residents.

    Palestinian news agency Wafa said that at least 31 other Palestinians, including university students, were arrested throughout the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, as well as from the village of Issawiya in occupied East Jerusalem.

    According to Palestinian figures, roughly 5,700 Palestinians, including women and children, are currently in Israeli detention facilities.

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    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies