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Mass protests in Nablus after Palestinian detainee dies.

Summary: Nablus, the second largest city in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, was gripped by violent protests Tuesday after the death of a Palestinian detainee shortly after he was seized by Palestinian police.

NABLUS, Palestine/OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Nablus, the second largest city in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, was gripped by violent protests Tuesday after the death of a Palestinian detainee shortly after he was seized by Palestinian police.

Hundreds of protesters, some throwing stones, marched through the city to denounce the death of Ahmad Halawa, who was seized during a police raid that followed the death of two police officers last week.

"Security forces detained Ahmad Izz Halawa during a complicated and delicate security operation in Nablus," Adnan al-Dmairi, the spokesman for the Palestinian Authority's security services, said in a statement.

Halawa was killed after he was taken to Juneid prison in Nablus, he said, although the exact circumstances of his death were not clear. Akram al-Rjoub, Nablus' governor, said Halawa was beaten to death by members of the security forces.

Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah promised a full investigation, describing the incident as "rare."

Halawa was a senior member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, a militant group linked to the Fatah Party.

In some cases militants have become involved in criminal activity, which the Palestinian security forces have been cracking down on, the Palestinian government said.

Last week, security forces carried out a raid in Nablus targeting a criminal group suspected of harboring weapons. Two suspects were killed, one of them a relative of Halawa's, and two officers were shot dead. Rjoub said Halawa was "the mastermind" of the shooting of the officers.

Since the start of the year, Israel has seized dozens of weapons, shuttered arms-making factories and arrested weapons dealers in a clampdown in the West Bank meant to quell a spate of Palestinian violence.

Tuesday, Israel uncovered a Palestinian weapons manufacturing network in the West Bank in one of its largest raids during a monthslong crackdown on illicit arms, the military said.The military said that the latest raid overnight found seven weapons factories, 22 weapons-making machines and dozens of arms, which it said was a significant haul since it began targeting illegal weapons manufacturers. Among the seized arms were crude guns based on the Swedish "Carl Gustav" submachine gun, which the military says has been a preferred weapon for Palestinian attackers.

In other developments, Israeli security forces rushed to Nablus to rescue ultra-Orthodox Jews stoned by Palestinians as they visited a Jewish shrine, police said. A statement said that about 60 members of a Hasidic sect went on a predawn trip to Joseph's Tomb, in a Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of the city, which many Jews believe holds the remains of the biblical patriarch Joseph. Palestinians believe an Islamic preacher, Sheikh Yussef Dweikat, was buried there two centuries ago and the Palestinian office of religious sites considers it to be an Islamic archaeological monument.

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Geographic Code:7ISRA
Date:Aug 24, 2016
Words:505
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