Israel arrests Italian graffiti artists in West Bank

Italian artist Jorit Agoch (L) paints a mural depicting jailed Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi next to another artist on Israel’s controversial separation barrier in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, on July 25, 2018. (AFP pic)

RAMALLAH: Israeli border police on Saturday arrested two Italian graffiti artists who were painting a mural of a jailed Palestinian teenager, Ahed Tamimi, on the Israeli separation barrier in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, according to Palestinian officials.

Tamimi, now 17, was sent to prison for assault after being filmed kicking and slapping an Israeli soldier late last year, when she was 16. She is due to be released on Sunday.

Tamimi became a heroine to Palestinians after the Dec. 15 incident outside her home in the village of Nabi Saleh was streamed live on Facebook by her mother and went viral.

An Israeli police spokesman did not return a call for comment.

The Palestine Liberation Organisation said on Twitter that Israeli forces had arrested the two Italian artists and a Palestinian who was with them.

Israel maintains control over most of the West Bank, where the Palestinians have limited self-rule.

Most countries consider Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be illegal, something Israel disputes.