Will Itallian street artist arrested in Israel be released?
A popular Italian street artist has been arrested by Israeli border police after painting a mural of teenage Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi on the Israeli separation barrier in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank.
Agostino Chirwin, better known by the pseudonym Jorit Agoch, is known for his life-like murals of public figures and activists, which he typically paints on walls and buildings.
He had been working on a four-metre mural of Tamimi — a 17-year-old activist who was released on Sunday after spending eight months in prison for slapping and kicking an Israeli soldier — when he was arrested on Saturday, according to eyewitness accounts.
Local reporter Shafee Hafez told Euronews he saw two Italians and one Palestinian activist being arrested.
A police statement said the trio were arrested "on suspicion of damaging and vandalising the security fence in the Bethlehem area,” according to AFP.
The group, whose faces were masked, “illegally drew on the wall, and when border policemen took action to arrest them, they tried to escape in their car, which was stopped by the forces,” the statement added.
Jorit wrote of his arrest on Facebook, saying: “Who can help us please do it”.
More than 4,000 people have reacted to the post, while many have shared the hashtag #freejorit alongside pictures of his work on Twitter.
The Italian Foreign Ministry said on Sunday it was in contact with Israeli authorities.