Early in the morning of September 26, Israeli troops raided the house of Israa Lafi, a Palestinian blogger and contributing opinion writer to several media outlets (including Qatar-based Al-Jazeera, the Hamas-affiliated Quds News Network, and the youth cultural magazine Ishraqat) in the town of Surif, 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) northwest of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and arrested her without informing her of any charges, according to news reports, the regional press freedom group SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom, and her father, Hamas leader Khader Lafi.
SKeyes cited Khader Lafi as saying that a large number of Israeli soldiers stormed into their family house at 3:00 a.m. and began to search it.
“A group of soldiers took my daughter Israa to a separate room, where she was subjected to a thorough search. Her cell phone was seized and they took her to an unknown destination,” he added.
News reports and SKeyes also cited Khader Lafi as saying that the Israeli intelligence had warned Israa Lafi to stop her writing and appearances on television several months earlier.
The Ofer Military Court on September 26, 2018, extended Lafi’s detention for eight days to complete the investigation and judicial proceedings against her and ordered that she be transferred to Hasharon prison, according to news reports and a post by her father on Facebook.
Lafi’s father told CPJ in November 2018 that Lafi had been transferred to Damon prison in northern Israel and her hearing had been postponed until November 13. Lafi’s father told CPJ in late November 2018 that Lafi’s hearing had been postponed again until December 26, 2018.
Lafi’s blog deals mainly with politics and religion and provides advice on religion. In a blog post published on July 18, she wrote about the emergence of radical Israeli groups that allegedly seek to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock to obliterate the traces of Islam in Jerusalem and rebuild the Salomon Temple.
Her latest contributions to the youth cultural magazine Ishraqat were the review of a book on Quranic reflections, and an op-ed criticizing the trend of using names from Turkish and Indian soap operas to name Palestinian children.
As of late 2018, the Israeli Defense Forces had not replied to CPJ’s emailed request for comment.