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Israeli forces detain activist in Hebron, close mosque

Israeli forces detain activist in Hebron, close mosque

HEBRON -- Israeli forces detained an American-Palestinian activist in Hebron on Sunday amid closures in the city during the Jewish holidays, a local activist said.

Forces evacuated Beersheba road in the center of the southern West Bank city to allow Jewish worshipers to visit the tomb of Othniel Ben Knaz, Hebron defense committee coordinator Mohammad Al-Jibrini told Ma'an.

During the removal of shop-keepers and pedestrians, an American with Palestinian heritage, 25, was seized by forces, al-Jibrani said, without releasing the activist's name.

A 30-year-old Italian and another British woman, also 30, were lightly injured, he said.

Coordinator of the International Solidarity Movement in Hebron Sami Al-Natsheh said the three were part of the movement and working to document Israeli violations of Palestinian rights in the city.

An Israeli army spokesman said two Palestinians were detained in Hebron in Sunday. One was detained carrying a knife, and another was suspected of hurling a firebomb at the Jewish Cordoba school, he said.

Separately, forces closed access for Palestinians to the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron's Old City on Sunday for two days during Jewish holiday Passover, Islamic endowments director in Hebron Zaid Al-Jaafari said.

The army spokesman said Palestinians would be able to enter the mosque again on Tuesday morning.

A 1997 agreement split Hebron into areas of Palestinian and Israeli control.

The Israeli military-controlled H2 zone includes the ancient Old City, home of the revered Ibrahimi Mosque -- also split into a synagogue referred to as the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

Around 800 Jewish settlers live in Hebron's Old City, among 30,000 Palestinians in the parts of the city that are under Israeli control.

The settlers, many of whom are armed, are guarded by Israeli soldiers stationed in the city who impose strict restrictions on Palestinians' movement.

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