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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center,, for Monday December 23, 2013.

The Israeli army releases a prominent political detainee and troops kidnap 16 civilians during invasions targeting West Bank communities. These stories, and more, coming up, stay tuned.

Samer Issawi, iconic Palestinian political prisoner and hunger strike organizer, was released today, following over 17 months in Shatta Israeli army prison.

Family members said that Israeli forces raided his house, on Monday, and prohibited them from organizing any celebrations, local sources reported.

He was originally arrested by Israeli forces during the Second Intifada, but was among hundreds of prisoners released, in 2011, as part of a bargain for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

He subsequently launched a hunger strike against the renewed detention, ending the strike only after Israel agreed to release him. Samer Issawi’s hunger strike was one of the longest, ever in history, and brought him close to death.

Elsewhere at least 16 civilians from different areas of the West Bank were arrested by Israeli forces, Monday, according to security and local sources.

Among the detainees are five youths from the town of Anabta, near Tulkram, eight people from al-Mazra’ah al-Qibliyeh, near Ramallah, and an unspecified number of people from Beit Oula, located in Hebron governorate, as well as Beit Rima and Deir Abu Mashal, located within Ramallah governorate, the Palestinian News Network has reported.

In other news Israeli police sources reported that a rocket fired from Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip hit a southern Israel community, early Monday morning, without causing damage or injuries.

Israeli bomb squad personnel found the ‘rocket fired from the Gaza Strip’ near the city of Ashkelon, according to police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

Police say that the projectile hit near a school bus stop. Gaza government spokeswoman Isra Almodallal told Palestinian Ma’an news that Hamas had not confirmed or denied their involvement in the incident.

And that’s all for today from the IMEMC News; this was the Monday December, 23, 2013 news round-up from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. For more news and updates please keep visiting our web site at Today’s report has been brought to you by George Rishmawi and me Ghassan Bannoura.