Washington Post journo briefly held in Jerusalem

2016-02-16 16:11


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Jerusalem - Israeli forces briefly detained the Washington Post's Jerusalem bureau chief as well as a rights activist on Tuesday on suspicion of inciting violence, but released them without charge, officials said.

The Post's William Booth was detained at the Damascus Gate entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem after a member of the public accused him of inciting Palestinians against Israeli forces, police spokesperson Luba Samri said.

The Association of Civil Rights in Israel confirmed one of their employees was questioned in the same incident.

Damascus Gate has been the site of several attacks in a wave of violence that erupted in October.

"A passer-by complained that he saw a number of people intending to stage a provocation and disruption of order of young Arabs aimed at police officers in the area, allegedly for propaganda purposes," Samri said.

"In light of the complaint, officers detained a number of suspects to clarify the facts in a discreet and sensitive manner at a nearby police facility," she said, stressing Booth was released shortly after.

The Israeli government's press office issued a statement later saying it "regrets today's incident at Damascus Gate in which a correspondent for the Washington Post was unnecessarily detained by the Border Police".

It said the incident was "probably the result of an unfortunate misunderstanding".

"Israel is doing its utmost to enable the foreign press to work freely, without any pressure," it said. "We call upon the security forces and journalists to act with restraint and to avoid confrontations during these tense times."

A subcommittee in Israel's parliament last week held a debate over the coverage of recent violence in the country, which some Israeli politicians have accused of being biased against them.

Read more on:    us  |  israel

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