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Dawn raid in Esh Kodesh, detainees released after interrogation

Tuesday, April 2, 2013, 15:09 At the end of several hours of interrogation at the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police Station in Ma’aleh Adumim the five residents of Esh Kodesh detained in a dawn police raid on suspicion of shooting an Arab were released. Many people voiced criticism on the fact that adults, heads of household with families, were detained in a dawn raid without being officially summoned to an interrogation. At dawn on Tuesday April 2 large numbers of police forces raided the community of Esh Kodesh in the Binyamin region. The policemen searched the homes of the members of the community’s rapid response team and confiscated their weapons for ballistics testing. The five members, one of them an IDF soldier, were detained on suspicion of shooting an Arab during an incident approximately six weeks ago and taken to the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police Station in Ma’aleh Adumim. After briefing by telephone from Honenu attorney Adi Kedar, and after meeting with Honenu attorney Yehuda Sasson, the detainees gave their version of the incident. Approximately six weeks ago Arab residents of the nearby village of Qusra infiltrated a vineyard in Esh Kodesh and began rioting. IDF soldiers arrived on the scene as did members of Esh Kodesh’s rapid response team in order to remove the rioting Arabs. According to the Arabs one of the rioters was wounded by a M-16 bullet. During interrogation four of the detainees said that they hadn’t used their weapons at all and the fifth said that he fired two shots in the air, according to instructions from the army, which arrived with only riot dispersal equipment and was not able to fire warning shots. The army cooperated with the rapid response team in handling the incident. The detainees added that border policemen arrived during the course of the incident and took control. As the border policemen removed the rioting Arabs they were forced to use live fire. The Arabs’ claim that one of them was wounded came after the members of the rapid response team had left the scene and only the border policemen remained to remove the rioters. The Arab was apparently wounded by border policemen after he endangered their lives. All five of the detainees were released after interrogation at the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police Station. Honenu strongly criticizes the dawn raid and detention. “The dawn raid was a politically motivated provocation on the part of the Israeli Police. There is absolutely no reason for detaining adults in front of their small children and searching their homes at dawn. The results of the interrogation were already known to the police. The only purpose of the raid was an attempt to intimidate the residents of Esh Kodesh.” Attorney Yehuda Sasson, who handled the case until the release of the detainees, responded. “The wounded Arab was hit by security forces who defended the residents of Esh Kodesh and their agricultural areas. The detention of five residents in the very early hours of the day in front of their families was unwarranted and disproportional, especially considering that six weeks had passed since the incident. More than anything else their quick release indicates that their version of the incident was examined and found to be reliable.”

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