IOF soldiers check IDs from Palestinians in the YAS center. Photo by: Youth Against Settlements

IOF stormed into Youth Against Settlements Center in Hebron

PNN/Hebron

Yesterday evening, Israeli occupation forces arrested two activists from the local activist group Youth Against Settlement (YAS) in Hebron. Illegal settlers, under the protection of the IOF, closed the YAS center, the Soumud house, trapping everyone inside.

According to the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), the IOF stormed the house in the evening around 7 pm, and arrested 16-year old Ahmad al-Azzeh, accusing him of ‘having a knife’.

Ahmad Al-azzeh being arrested by the IOF. Photo by: Youth Against Settlements
Ahmad Al-azzeh being arrested by the IOF. Photo by: Youth Against Settlements

Israeli soldiers also arrested Issa Amro, the YAS coordinator, under the accusation of ‘disturbing the soldiers’ and ‘hiding a terrorist in his house’. Issa Amro was detained in a bathroom for more than four hours, with his hands cuffed behind his back and blindfolded. He was interrogated for long periods of time, as stated by ISM.

Issa Amro being arrested by the IOF. Photo by: Youth Against Settlements
Issa Amro being arrested by the IOF. Photo by: Youth Against Settlements

Whereas Issa Amro was released after more than 5 and a half hours, Ahmad al-Azzeh’s arrest was extended for another 4 days. He has been arrested merely on a soldier’s accusation of ‘seeing him with a knife’. “This ridiculous allegation is clearly a means to intimidate the whole group and on the long run force them to leave the area”, the ISM reported on their website.

After the arrest, settlers from the nearby illegal settlement approached the Soumud house, protesting and demanding Israeli occupation forces to close it immediately, as stated by the ISM. Groups of settlers have been outside the center the whole evening, and even brought mattresses to sleep in front of the house’s door the whole night.

Everyone there, thus, was trapped inside without a possibility to leave. The whole time, Israeli soldiers present in large numbers allowed the settlers to do as they pleased, without ever intervening. A group of about 30 settlers camped outside the Soumud house, thus laying a siege to it and forcing everyone inside to spent the night there. As of Saturday, 28th November 10:30am, settlers are still outside the center, according to ISM.

Settlers and IOF soldiers. Photo by: Youth Against Settlements.
Settlers and IOF soldiers. Photo by: Youth Against Settlements.

The local activist group, Youth Against Settlements, has constantly been targeted by the IOF for their non-violent resistance to the Israeli occupation. Only a month ago, Israeli occupation forces took over the center for military use, destroying their media equipment. Settlers have repeatedly attacked the group members and wrongfully accused them of crimes.