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Israel arrests Italians who painted mural of Palestinian teen

29 July 2018

Just hours before the soldiers arrived at the Tamimi home on 15 December, the family were informed that Israeli forces had shot Ahed's 15-year-old cousin Mohammed in the head.

The Palestinian teenager and her mother left prison on Sunday after completing an eight-month sentence for slapping and kicking Israeli soldiers.

For Palestinians, she has become a national icon for what they see as acts of bravery in standing up to armed soldiers on occupied land.

In Israel, she is seen by many as either a provocateur, an irritation or a threat to the military's deterrence. Israel has treated her actions as a criminal offense, indicting her on charges of assault and incitement.

On Thursday, Israeli occupation forces barred residents from entering and exiting Nabi Saleh, where Ahed lives with her family, ahead of her scheduled release.

"The resistance continues until the occupation is removed", she said on her return. "All the female prisoners in jail are strong, and I thank everyone who stood by me while I was in prison".

From her home, Ahed headed for a visit to the grave of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

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Ahed's father Bassem said Saturday that after her release from prison, "we expect her to lead and we will support her to lead" in the fight to end occupation. Ahed has participated in such marches from a young age, and has had several highly publicized run-ins with soldiers.

The Israeli police intervened despite the four-metre mural being painted on the Bethlehem side of the wall, which ostensibly is supposed to be under the control of the Palestinian Authority.

A Border Police spokesman confirmed the arrests and said the suspects had attempted to flee in their vehicle.

Ahed was 16 when she was arrested and turned 17 in custody.

Amnesty International condemned the arrest, saying it violated international law and underlining that the detention of minors should be used only as a last resort. Some 300 minors are now being held, according to Palestinian figures.

Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war.

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Israel arrests Italians who painted mural of Palestinian teen