Mohammed Abu Khdeir

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Israeli authorities arrested Abu Khdeir at Ben Gurion Airport as he was returning from a trip to Cairo, the Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai reported. His house was also raided and authorities confiscated his phones and computer, news reports said.

Abu Khdeir, who writes for Al-Rai as well as the Jerusalem-based daily Al-Quds, was in Cairo to report on a recent Arab League meeting. His most recent articles, published the week of his arrest, dealt with a controversial draft law that would allow Jews to pray at Al-Aqsa mosque. The mosque is considered one of the most holy places in Islam, but it sits on the Temple Mount, which Jews consider sacred as well.

Al-Rai also reported that a gag order has been placed on Abu Khdeir’s arrest. The Israeli courts often impose gag orders on the press concerning cases of national security, and local publications that violate the orders can face legal repercussions. Al-Quds has not reported publicly about the case and did not respond to a request for comment.

It is not clear what accusations or charges have been filed against Abu Khdeir. The Israeli Prison Service and Israel Airports Authority did not respond to a request for comment.

News reports said Abu Khdeir was being held in Be’er Sheba in the Negev desert, and his family and lawyer have not been allowed to visit.

In a separate incident in 2012 reported by The Associated Press, Israeli authorities demanded to strip search Abu Khdeir and several other Palestinian journalists attempting to cover a press conference by then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Abu Khdeir refused, saying Israeli and international journalists were not asked to undergo the same procedure.