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Dozens of Palestinians arrested in Israeli raids in West Bank towns

Offices of WAFA news agency in Ramallah raided with Israeli forces taking up positions a few hundred metres from Mahmoud Abbas's residence
An Israeli soldier fires a tear gas canister at Palestinian stone throwers following a raid in the West Bank city of Ramallah, 10 December (AFP)

Israeli troops arrested 28 people early on Tuesday morning in several cities of the occupied West Bank, in a second consecutive day of night raids, local media reported.

The majority of arrests were in Nablus city's villages of Tal and Urif, in the north of the West Bank, and in the towns of Tubas, Tulkarem and Hebron.

The Israeli army said those arrested were "wanted for security investigations".

On Monday evening, Israeli troops raided the offices of the Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA), the Palestinian Authority's official news agency in Ramallah, firing tear gas into WAFA's building, injuring several journalists and preventing staff from leaving or returning to their offices.

The Israeli troops also pushed and shoved two photographers and hurled profanities at them, according to local reports.

WAFA said the Israeli army confiscated security camera footage from the building during the incident.

Last Sunday, a group of Israeli settlers were shot at a bus stop next to Ofra, an illegal settlement in the West Bank. Six people were wounded, the Israeli army said.

In a statement last Monday, the Israeli army said it was searching nearby villages for the perpetrators.

Israeli soldiers raid the West Bank city of Ramallah and stationed less than 500 metres of PA's president Mahmoud Abbas residency and Al-Muqatah headquarter, 10 December (AFP)
Israeli troops and military vehicles raided Ramallah city on Monday, in a scene that reminded Palestinians of 2002 Israeli military operations in West Bank cities, which resulted in the destruction of PA security forces's buildings and institutions.

Palestinian youths threw stones at the Israeli troops who were stationed at Al-Irsal, the main street in Ramallah located less than 500 metres from both PA President Mahmoud Abbas's residency and the Al-Muqatah, the PA's seat of government.

According to local reports, the PA's own security forces and police "hid" during the Israeli raid.

Ramallah is part of area A, according to the 1993 Oslo Accords, where the PA is supposed to have full sovereignty. Israeli troops are supposed to coordinate with the PA's forces when they want to conduct a raid in the area or arrest someone.

PA forces sometimes coordinate with Israeli troops and intelligence services in arresting wanted Palestinians by collecting information about them or locating them.

A recent example of security coordination is the manhunt for Ashraf Naalwa, a 23-year-old Palestinian who was named by the Israeli army as a suspect in the killing of two Israelis inside an industrial zone in the illegal settlement of Arial in the West Bank.

Israeli security forces have been searching Naalwa for the past 71 days, with the PA's assistance, but have so far failed to arrest him.

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