By Anees Barghouthi
RAMALLAH (AA) - The Israeli army detained 42 Palestinians in overnight raids carried out in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, a Palestinian official said Wednesday.
"Israeli army forces detained 30 Palestinians after raiding their homes in occupied East Jerusalem’s Al-Toor and Swana neighborhoods," Issa Qaraqe, head of the Palestine Liberation Organization's committee on detainees, told Anadolu Agency.
"Twelve other Palestinians were arrested in the West Bank cities of Tubas and Al-Khalil [Hebron]," he added.
The Israeli army frequently carries out sweeping arrest campaigns in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem that ostensibly target Palestinians "wanted" by the Israeli occupation authorities.
Currently, over 7,000 Palestinians are languishing in prisons throughout the Jewish state, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs.
Near the West Bank city of Nablus, meanwhile, eyewitnesses said dozens of Israeli soldiers had stormed a local Muslim place of worship in the early hours of Wednesday.
At least 30 Israeli soldiers forced their way into the site known as "Joseph's Tomb", while dozens of Palestinians gathered to protest the incursion, Ahmed Shamekh, a Palestinian official at the nearby Balata Refugee Camp, told Anadolu Agency.
"Joseph's Tomb" has long been a flashpoint for violence.
Jews believe the site to be the burial place of the biblical patriarch Joseph. Muslims, however, challenge the claim, saying an Islamic cleric -- Sheikh Yussef Dawiqat -- was buried at the site two centuries ago.