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14-year-old girl joins dozens of Palestinian women in Israeli prison

8 Palestinian women and girls were arrested by Israel in May, the youngest was 14-year-old Malak Al-Ghalith who was held at a checkpoint on 28 May 2017

Israeli authorities detained eight Palestinian women and girls over the past month, the youngest of which was 14-year-old Malak al-Ghalith from al-Jalazun refugee camp in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, according to a statement released Saturday by the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners' Affairs.

Malak was detained on May 28 at Israel's Qalandiya military checkpoint for allegedly attempting to carry out a stabbing attack. Israeli forces pepper-sprayed the young girl before locking her inside a container for two hours, where Israeli soldiers insulted, cursed, and laughed at her while taking pictures of her, according to lawyers for the committee Hanan al-Khatib and Hiba Masalha.

The lawyers reported that Malak was interrogated for four hours before being transferred to Israel's HaSharon prison.

Some 56 Palestinian women are currently being imprisoned by Israel, according to the committee's statement. However, prisoners' rights group Addameer said that there were 61 Palestinian women and girls in Israeli custody as of April.

The committee's statement highlighted that among the 56 female prisoners, nine were minors, though the statement only named Malak and seven other girls, identified as Iman Ali, Marah Jueideh, Luma al-Bakri, Amal Kabha, Manar Shweiki, Hadiyyeh Ereinat, and Malak Salman.

Malak was also among eight Palestinian women to be detained over the past month alone. The committee identified six of the others as Ibtisam Eid Moussa, 59, from Gaza City; Suzan Abu Qutaiba, 32, from Yatta in the southern occupied West Bank; Ahlam Malukh, 22, from Hebron in the southern West Bank; Sujoud Riman from Nablus in the northern West Bank; Dina Iskafi from Hebron; and Asia Kaabneh from Nablus.

Al-Khatib and Sawalha added that "brutal sentences" were also recently issued by Israel against Palestinian women and girls, including a 13-year prison sentence for Nurhan Awwad, who was 16 years old when she was detained after being shot and critically injured – alongside her 14-year-old cousin who was killed.

The two lawyers also noted that Israa Jaabis, 32, was sentenced to 11 years in prison and 19-year-old Shurouq Duwayyat was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

According to Addameer, some 10,000 Palestinian women and girls have been detained by Israeli forces over the past 45 years.

In 2015 alone, Israeli forces detained 106 Palestinian women and girls, which according to the group represented a 70 percent increase compared to detention numbers in 2013.

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