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Israel arrests Italian graffiti artists in West Bank

Israel arrests Italian graffiti artists in West Bank

Palestinian teen activist Ahed Tamimi has been released from prison after serving almost eight months in detention, according to Israeli authorities.

Ahed Tamimi, 17, urged supporters to continue their resistance as she received a hero's welcome on returning to her home in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh.

Tamimi, who was 16 at the time of her arrest, was sentenced to eight months in prison.

A protester holds a placard depicting Ahed Tamimi as hundreds take part in the Women's March on January 20, 2018 in Montreal.

The two Italian artists have been working on the massive portrait of Tamimi for the past five days, in preparation for her widely anticipated release.

Tamimi has been touted by Palestinians as a symbol of resistance to Israel's military occupation while many Israelis accuse her of being an agitator seeking to provoke soldiers on camera.

On Monday, the artists were confronted by Israeli soldiers when they began painting the mural on a portion of the wall close to the military tower.

In the wake of the assault, Education Minister Naftali Bennet said he would like to see her in jail for the rest of her life, while another MP said he would like to "hit her in the face". "All the female prisoners in jail are strong, and I thank everyone who stood by me while I was in prison".

On Saturday, Israeli border police arrested two Italians and a Palestinian "on suspicion of damaging and vandalising the security fence in the Bethlehem area", a statement said.

Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war.

Ahed's case has trained a spotlight on the detention of Palestinian minors by Israel, a practice that has been criticised by global rights groups.

For Palestinians, she has become a national icon for what they see as acts of bravery in standing up to armed soldiers on occupied land.