Israel presses operation in West Bank, arrests 17

Photo: Israel presses operation in West Bank, arrests 17
 / Arab-Israel Relations

Israeli troops searching for three teenagers it says were kidnapped a fortnight ago by Hamas militants, arrested 17 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank overnight, an army spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The arrests took place across the West Bank and included a Palestinian MP, she said.

The latest detentions raised to 371 the number of Palestinians arrested in the two weeks since the teens disappeared from a hitchhiking post in the southern West Bank.

Of that number, 282 are allied to the Islamist Hamas movement, an army spokesman told AFP.

He said that soldiers had searched 1,955 locations and raided 64 Hamas institutions.

So far there has been no claim of responsibility and no sign of the missing students, with the search focusing on the southern West Bank.

Palestinians living in the town of Yatta village south of Hebron told AFP that the soldiers had beaten up several people as they entered their homes.

Others accused the troops of stealing money and gold during the raids.

The army had no comment on the claims.

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