Israel nixes 20 arrest operations in West Bank due to prison overcrowding: Media

Israel nixes 20 arrest operations in West Bank due to prison overcrowding: Media

Israeli officials warn that lack of detention capacity could lead to cancellation of more arrests in West Bank

By Zein Khalil

JERUSALEM (AA) – The Israeli army has canceled around 20 planned arrest operations of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank due to a lack of prison space, according to local media on Monday.

The Israeli army and Shin Bet security service had to abolish these arrests because of crowdedness in detention facilities, the Israeli public broadcaster KAN reported.

The security agencies are being forced to evaluate the risk level of prisoners and release some detainees held without charges under Israel’s administrative detention policy to make space for those deemed a “high threat,” it added.

Israeli security officials warn that the lack of detention capacity could lead to the cancellation of more arrests in the West Bank.

The Israeli Prison Service had previously announced in April that the detention capacity for Palestinian prisoners was estimated at 14,500, while the actual number held exceeded 21,000.

The Prison Service warned that it would not be able to accommodate additional security prisoners.

Last week, Maariv newspaper reported that Israel had arrested around 4,150 Palestinians in the West Bank since the start of the Gaza war on Oct. 7, 2023. However, the Palestinian Prisoner Society says the actual number of detainees was estimated at 9,325.

There are no precise figures available for Palestinian detainees from the Gaza Strip who are held by the Israeli military in notorious detention centers like Sde Teman in the Negev desert.

Tensions have been high across the occupied West Bank since Israel launched a deadly military offensive against the Gaza Strip, which has killed more than 37,600 victims since Oct. 7.

At least 553 Palestinians have since been killed, including 133 children, and nearly 5,300 injured by Israeli army fire in the West Bank, according to the Health Ministry.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, whose latest ruling ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt its military operation in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6.

*Writing by Mohammad Sio

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