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Rights group claims administrative detentions of Palestinians reach six-year high

Palestinians hold posters against administrative detention and in support of Palestinian prisoners Bilal Kayed, Muhammad and Mahmud al-Balboul outside the United Nations building in the West Bank city of Ramallah, August 22, 2016. (Flash90)
Palestinians hold posters against administrative detention and in support of Palestinian prisoners Bilal Kayed, Muhammad and Mahmud al-Balboul outside the United Nations building in the West Bank city of Ramallah, August 22, 2016. (Flash90)

The HaMoked rights group reports that administrative detentions in Israeli jails have reached a six-year high, with 640 prisoners currently being held under the controversial procedure.

According to HaMoked, the current 640 detainees mark the highest number since August 2016, the tail end of a wave of Palestinian “lone wolf” terror attacks.

Under administrative detention, suspects are held without charges on classified evidence. Israel says the procedure is necessary to fight terrorism and take attackers off the streets when concrete intelligence indicates they constitute a threat. Palestinians and rights groups say Israeli security forces abuse the measure, which is intended for extreme cases.

The bump in administrative detainees comes as Israel grapples with the deadliest series of terror attacks in years. Shootings and stabbings in Israeli cities have left 19 people dead since March 22. At least 30 Palestinians were killed over the same period, according to Palestinian health officials, some in firefights or violent clashes with troops, while others appear to have been uninvolved civilians.

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