IDF arrests Palestinian girl filmed hitting troops in apparent provocation
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IDF arrests Palestinian girl filmed hitting troops in apparent provocation

Army says soldiers acted ‘professionally’ in not reacting to slaps from 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi during encounter in front of cameras

Israeli security forces overnight Monday arrested one of the Palestinian teenagers who was filmed slapping and harassing IDF soldiers in the West Bank in an apparent effort to instigate a violent response from them.

The army in a statement said the girl was arrested for taking part in violent riots in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh on Friday.

The girl, identified in media reports as 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi, was being questioned by the Shin Bet security service.

According to the Palestinian Ma’an News agency, Israeli troops confiscated cellphones, laptops and cameras from the Tamimi home.

She was arrested in a joint operation by IDF troops and Border Police officers.

On Friday, Tamimi and two other teenage girls filmed themselves hitting Israeli soldiers, yelling at them and — at one point — slapping one of them across the face.

Throughout the encounter, the girls film the soldiers with cellphones, which seems to indicate that they were trying to instigate a violent response from the soldiers.

The servicemen, however, do not oblige them. Throughout the encounter, the soldiers refrain from retaliating, though they do defend themselves from the harder blows.

The army said a preliminary investigation into Friday’s incident showed the soldiers “acted professionally and were not dragged into violence.”

The statement also said the troops could have arrested the girls at the time of the incident because they “used physical violence and prevented soldiers from carrying out their duties.”

Nabi Saleh has been the frequent staging ground for provoked clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians, specifically members of the Tamimi clan, which has a history of getting involved in highly publicized interactions with the IDF.

In August 2015, an IDF soldier was caught on film trying to arrest 12-year-old Muhammad Tamimi, who had been throwing rocks during a violent protest.

In the footage, the soldier appears to forcefully restrain the boy, whose arm is in a cast. On several occasions, he grabs the child around the neck, and presses his head against a boulder to keep him still.

A group of women and children, including Muhammad’s sister A’hd, then begin fighting with the soldier, punching him repeatedly while he holds down the boy. At one point, A’hd bites his hand.

The video of the scuffle went viral online, drawing millions of views.

Palestinians fight an Israeli soldier who attempted to arrest a boy at a protest near the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah, on August 28, 2015. (AFP Photo/Abbas Momani)

As a 13-year-old, A’hd gained fame among Palestinian activists for a November 2012 incident in which she led a group of children, including her brother Muhammad, in arguing with Israeli soldiers.

In a video of the incident, she can be seen repeatedly raising her balled fist at a soldier, poised to hit him, but never actually doing so.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan praised her and gave her a “Courage Award” in Istanbul. A’hd, in turn, encouraged Erdogan to support boycotts of Israel.

Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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