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Israeli soldiers arrest 2 Palestinian children for 15 hours, hold them in cold, handcuffed and blindfolded without food

Occupied West Bank (QNN)- On Sunday night, 24 October 2021, at around 10:00 P.M., about 10 Israeli occupation forces soldiers arrived at a-Zawiya village near Salfit in the occupied West Bank and arrested two 11-year-old children, under the age of criminal liability, claiming they had thrown stones at Route 5.

According to the Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem, Yasser-‘Arafat Abu Berqin (Shqeir) and Yazan Qadus are the two children who were arrested and the soldiers ordered Yasser-‘Arafat’s brother, Mu’tasem (22), and Yazan’s father, Na’im (42), to go with them.

The soldiers drove the two boys and the two men to the police station in the illegal settlement of Ariel.

There, they were made to sit in the yard, in the cold, for about two hours, during which time no one spoke to them, the group said.

They were then driven to a military base in the illegal settlement of Yakir, where they were held in a trailer, handcuffed and blindfolded, until around 2:30 P.M. the following day.

Only then did soldiers take off their handcuffs and blindfolds. After 15 hours, they were then driven to the entrance to their village and told to go home, the group said.

It added that at no point did any of the soldiers offer them food or shelter from the cold. No one spoke with them or asked them anything, and not a single person bothered to explain to the frightened children and the distressed adults why they had been taken from their homes in that manner or what lay ahead.

B’Tselem collected statements from the children and the adults who went with them.

That day, Yasser said, “I came home after playing with my friends and went to take a shower. While I was in the shower, my brother Mu’tasem called out to me to finish up quickly because soldiers had come to our house and wanted to question me. I quickly washed the soap off and got dressed. When I went into the living room, I saw the soldiers waiting for me. I was terrified. They didn’t ask me any questions, and only led Mu’tasem and me outside. They took us to the house of my neighbor, Yazan Qadus, who’s a little younger than me.”

He added, “Some of the soldiers went into Yazan’s house and some stayed outside to watch over us. After a few minutes, the soldiers came out with Yazan and his father. They took us to a bridge that leads to our village, about 250 meters away from our house, where military jeeps were waiting. The soldiers put Mu’tasem and me in one jeep and Yazan and his father in another. We drove to the Hares Junction, near the traffic lights. There, they transferred us to a white military van and drove us to the settlement of Ariel. They dropped us off at a yard inside the settlement, which we saw had offices. No one spoke to us or asked us anything. They just left us there.”

“Then they took us in the jeep from Ariel to a military base. We later found out it was inside the settlement of Yakir. There, they tied my hands in front of me and covered my eyes with a piece of cloth. The soldiers took us to a container in the base and left us there all night. Until the moment we were released, no one said a word to us. They didn’t bring us any food. They just brought us water and let us go to the bathroom.”

“The next day, the jeep took the four of us back to the a-Zawiya bridge, and from there we went home. My father, who’s very ill, was so happy to see me. My mother and my siblings were also happy to see Mu’tasem and me back home.”

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