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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Israel arrests Palestinian teenager after video of her pushing soldiers goes viral

Ahed Al Tamimi, 17, is accused of assault and of taking part in a violent riot. Her mother and her 21-year-old cousin have also been arrested

Ahed Al Tamimi, centre, protested against Israeli forces in her West Bank village of Nabi Saleh / AFP
Ahed Al Tamimi, centre, protested against Israeli forces in her West Bank village of Nabi Saleh / AFP

Israel's security forces have arrested a Palestinian teenager, her mother and her cousin after a video of the 17-year-old slapping, pushing and kicking two heavily armed Israeli soldiers went viral.

Ahed Al Tamimi is accused of assault and of taking part in a violent riot. She was arrested on Tuesday along with her mother.

On Wednesday, soldiers also arrested her cousin Nour Naji Al Tamimi, 21, in connection with the viral video, residents told Agence France-Presse. All three are from the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh.

The footage in question shows Ahed and another Palestinian girl approaching the Israeli soldiers and telling them to leave. When they do not, Ahed begins slapping, shoving and kicking them. An older woman can be seen trying to intervene.

Ahed's father said the incident on Friday last week began after the soldiers raided houses in Nabi Saleh and shot a 14-year-old boy in the head.

“These soldiers before the video shot a child, Mohammed, in the head and he is still in the intensive care unit," said Bassem Al Tamimi. "Before that they had unleashed a barrage of tear gas.”

“The IOF (Israeli Occupation Forces) raided my home and arrested my daughter, Ahed Al Tamimi, and confiscated our computer, cameras and beat my wife and children,” Mr Al Tamimi posted on Facebook on Tuesday.

The following morning, he said Israeli forces had arrested other members of his family.

Israeli police, meanwhile, said they had arrested Ahed's mother and that both Ahed and her mother would remain in detention until at least Thursday. They also confirmed that a third arrest had been made.

Last Friday's raids on Nabi Saleh came a day after heavy clashes broke out in the occupied West Bank following protests against US president Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The move by Mr Trump has been widely condemned by the international community.

The video showing Ahed confronting the Israeli soldiers was edited and used by Israeli media to suggest she attacked the soldiers for no reason. Israeli politicians used the footage to praise the Israeli military and accuse Palestinians of provoking soldiers in order to film them responding violently.

Ahed is a well-known campaigner against the Israeli occupation and has made headlines before for her actions against Israeli soldiers. In 2015, a photo was widely shared online of the teenager biting the hand of an Israeli soldier who was pinning her brother against a rock.

In 2012, she was also given a Turkish award for courage after challenging Israeli soldiers who arrested her brother. She was received by the then Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.