Israel has confirmed detaining two senior Palestinian officials in charge of running Jerusalem’s affairs and suspected of aiding a kidnapping. The Palestinian leadership has condemned the detention as a “crime” and “abduction.”
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The detention of the Palestinian Authority Governor of Jerusalem, Adnan Ghaith, and the arrest of Jihad Fakih, Palestinian intelligence chief in the holy city, was confirmed by Israeli authorities on Sunday. Without providing exact details or the reasoning behind the arrests, the police spokesman noted, that Ghaith and Fakih are now being interrogated. The duo is currently being held at the Jerusalem Police Headquarters.
The military court has reportedly extended Ghaith’s detention until Tuesday, while Colonel Fakih has been confined until Wednesday.
While the authorities have yet to officially charge either of the officials, according to their lawyer, the Palestinians are being held on suspicions of aiding an abduction of a Palestinian resident of Jerusalem. Both Ghaith and Fakih deny the allegations.
A ‘kidnapped Palestinian resident’, reported to have both an Israeli ID and US citizenship, has allegedly been held in the West Bank for over a week. Palestinian authorities allegedly sought to detain the man for helping to sell an Arab home in the Old City to an Israeli owner. The US embassy acknowledged it was aware of reports a citizen was in detention, but refused to elaborate, due to privacy issues.
According to reports, Ghaith was abducted in Jerusalem’s Beit Hanina neighborhood on Saturday night by special units of the Israeli police, who stopped the governor’s car then drove away in an unknown direction with the official. The Colonel, according to Wafa, was detained at an Israeli military checkpoint in al-Judeira village in northwestern Jerusalem.
“The arrest of Geith and Fakih is a new crime against the Palestinian people,” the PA government said in a statement. “It’s also a crime against the Palestinian leadership and our eternal capital, the occupied Arab city of Jerusalem.”
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