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Israel Briefly Detains Prominent Palestinian Activist Twins

By VOA News June 06, 2021

Israeli authorities Sunday briefly detained two prominent Palestinian activists who gained a global audience while fighting eviction from their homes in the Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

Israeli police arrested Mona el-Kurd, 23, at her home Sunday and left a summons for her twin brother, Muhammad, according to their father.

Muhammad reportedly turned himself in to police after hearing of the summons. Both el-Kurds have since been released.

Israeli police told reporters that Mona el-Kurd was "suspected of having participated in riots and other recent incidents in Sheikh Jarrah," Agence France Presse, the French news agency, reported.

The el-Kurds are one of many Palestinian families facing eviction in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood because of Israeli settlements. The twins have amassed a social media following with their documentation of the area, popularizing the hashtag "#SaveSheikhJarrah."

Palestinians are appealing an eviction decision in favor of Jewish settlers to Israel's Supreme Court. The evictions are on hold.

After weeks of tension culminated in clashes at al-Asqa Mosque, Israeli police in April raided the site, the third holiest in Islam, during the holy month of Ramadan. Jews refer to it as the Temple Mount and consider it their holiest site.

Israeli airstrikes against Palestinian neighborhoods in Gaza during an 11-day conflict this year left more than 200 dead, including dozens of children, in what the United Nations said may constitute war crimes.

Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, fired rockets into Jerusalem, killing 12, including two children.

A cease-fire was brokered on May 20 and has largely held since.

Many civic structures in Gaza were destroyed by the Israeli bombing, making it more difficult to treat the injured and deal with a surge in coronavirus cases brought on by Palestinians crowding into community centers and underground bomb shelters to avoid the violence.

Palestinian officials say the reconstruction will cost tens of millions of dollars.

Israel said it did its best to avoid civilian casualties in the conflict, blaming Hamas for firing rockets that targeted Israelis.

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