At least two Palestinian children were beaten and detained by Israeli forces on Wednesday morning inside the Aida refugee camp, located in the northern part of Bethlehem city in the southern occupied West Bank.
Witnesses told Ma’an News Agency that Israeli forces raided the camp in military jeeps at around 9:30 a.m. while students from the camp’s United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) school were returning home from their final exams.
The soldiers then got out of their jeeps near the camp’s cemetery and assaulted two students, whose identities remained unknown. After beating the two, the soldiers threw them into the jeep and took them to a military base located adjacent to the camp.
“After arresting the two kids, the soldiers lined up a group of students against the wall and began pointing their guns in the kids’ faces,” one witness, who recorded the incident on video, told Ma’an.
The soldiers then began yelling at the students, accusing them of covering up for someone who allegedly threw a homemade pipe bomb at the military base around 8:30 a.m.
The witness insisted, however, that there was no way the students could have been involved in the incident or know who threw the bomb since they were in school taking their final exams.
Shortly after interrogating the students in the street, soldiers raided Aida’s Lajee Centre, a community organisation for refugee youth that stands at the entrance to the camp, and confiscated the centre’s computers and security camera footage.
In a statement following a violent detention raid in the camp, Lajee called the raid “part of the routine disturbance and abuse caused by Israeli soldiers,” in the camp, asserting that “military operations in the camp have caused irreversible damage to residents, especially children, who are being denied their basic right to protection against abuse and harm.”
“The unsafe living conditions in the camp due to the constant presence of Israeli military forces deeply affects the health development of children and jeopardises the future of the community,” the statement added.