Palestinian Israeli conflict

Israel deports Italian suspected of PFLP militant ties after Bethlehem raid

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Israeli authorities said Tuesday they had deported an Italian woman detained in an earlier military raid in the Bethlehem area of the occupied West Bank.

Stefania Costantini was arrested Monday during an incursion by Israeli forces into Dheisheh refugee camp, in the southern West Bank, Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security agency said.

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A 14-year-old boy was shot dead by Israeli forces during the raid, with the army saying forces opened fire when residents threw Molotov cocktails and other weapons at them.

The Shin Bet said Costantini arrived on a tourist visa in May and was suspected of being involved in the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) militant group.

“Costantini was summoned in September 2022 for interrogation by the Shin Bet, but she did not report (to the authorities) and even continued her activities for the terrorist organization,” the agency said in a statement.

The PFLP has also been designated a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.

After Costantini’s arrest on Monday, she was handed over to Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority, whose spokeswoman told AFP she was deported the same day.

The Italian consulate in Jerusalem did not immediately comment on the case when contacted by AFP.

Italy’s ANSA news agency said Costantini was around 50 years old.

Her expulsion came the same day Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani spoke by phone to his Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen.

Neither mentioned Costantini’s case in their statements about the call, published on Twitter.

The deadly raid in Dheisheh brought to 14 the number of Palestinians killed in the West Bank so far this month, including civilians and fighters, the majority shot dead by Israeli forces, according to an AFP tally.

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