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Palestinian teenager jailed for slapping soldiers released

Ahed Tamimi, 17, returns to a hero’s welcome after serving an eight-month sentence after being arrested in December.

A Palestinian teenager who was sent to prison for for slapping and kicking Israeli soldiers has returned home to a hero’s welcome after being released.

Ahed Tamimi, 17, and her mother, Nariman Tamimi, were transferred by the Israeli army to the Palestinian territories, and were greeted with banners, cheers and Palestinian flags as they reached their West Bank village of Nabi Saleh.

Ahed served an eight-month sentence after being arrested in December when she slapped two Israeli soldiers outside her family home.

Her mother filmed the incident and posted it on Facebook, where it went viral. With her unruly mop of curly light-coloured hair, the teenager quickly became a symbol of resistance to Israel’s half-century-old military rule over the Palestinians.

Ahed Tamimi is free! Eight months in illegal Israeli jails have just passed, and Ahed is back to her family, to her home, to her Palestine. #AhedTamimi

Posted by The Palestinian Information Center on Saturday, July 28, 2018

In Israel, however, she is seen by many as a provocateur, an irritation or a threat to the military’s deterrence policy.

In Nabi Saleh, supporters welcomed her home with banners and Palestinian flags planted on the roof of her home. Hundreds of chairs were set up for wellwishers in the courtyard.

“The resistance continues until the occupation is removed,” she said on her return. “All the female prisoners are steadfast. I salute everyone who supported me and my case.”

Her father, Bassem Tamimi, said he expects her to take a lead in the struggle against Israeli occupation but she is also weighing up college options.

Ahed was 16 when she was arrested and turned 17 in custody. Her case has trained a spotlight on the detention of Palestinian minors by Israel, a practice criticised by international rights groups.

Some 300 minors are currently being held, according to Palestinian figures.

Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war, and Palestinians are increasingly disillusioned about efforts to establish a state in those territories, after more than two decades of failed negotiations with Israel.

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