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Israel releases Palestinian teenager who struck soldier from prison

29 July 2018

Tamimi was arrested in December 2017 after a video of her slapping and hitting two Israeli soldiers outside of her house in the village of Nabi Saleh went viral.

Tamimi was arrested on December 19 after a video showed her slapping and kicking an Israeli soldier in Nabi Saleh.

"The occupation is doomed to end and [Israeli] detention will not break our will", the 17-year-old teenager added.

Palestinian "hero" Tamimi, 17, and her mother Nariman were driven early on Sunday from the Sharon prison inside Israel to a checkpoint leading to the occupied West Bank, where the Tamimi family live, prison spokesman Assaf Librati said.

"Ahed Tamimi's release must not obscure the familiar and continuing story of the Israeli military using discriminatory policies to lock up Palestinian children", said Higazi, who described her arrest as "a blatant attempt by the Israeli authorities to intimidate those who dare to challenge the ongoing brutal repression by occupying forces".

"I thank everyone who supported me in this sentence and supports all the prisoners".

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Her supporters see a fearless girl who struck two armed soldiers in frustration after having just learned that Israeli troops seriously wounded a 15-year-old cousin, shooting him in the head from close range with a rubber bullet during nearby stone-throwing clashes.

"My happiness is not complete without my sisters [Palestinian female prisoners], who are not with me".

Supporters hail the teenager as an icon of Palestinian activism and say her case exemplifies the brutality resulting from 50 years of occupation.

"Ahed Tamimi is a role model and an example of the popular Palestinian struggle for liberty and independence", Abbas said at her reception.

In a sign of her popularity, a pair of Italian artists painted a large mural of her on Israel's West Bank separation barrier ahead of her release. Tamimi's mother, Nariman Tamimi, was also released.

Keen to avoid the press, the Israeli authorities changed the location and time of her release three times.

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Under a deal accepted by the Israeli military court, Ahed had pleaded guilty to four charges, including assault, incitement and two counts of obstructing soldiers.

On Saturday, Israeli border police arrested two Italians and a Palestinian "on suspicion of damaging and vandalising the security fence in the Bethlehem area", a statement said.

Her father Bassem, who was not jailed in the incident, has been campaigning against Israel's military occupation of the West Bank for decades.

Ahed Tamimi hugs her mother.

Tamimi's case drew global attention and Amnesty International said after her conviction that her sentence was at odds with international law.

There had been slight tension at the checkpoint before Tamimi's arrival as a few men with Israeli flags approached supporters holding Palestinian flags.

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Israel releases Palestinian teenager who struck soldier from prison