RAMALLAH, West Bank - Israeli soldiers raided the offices of three civil society organizations on Tuesday in the heart of Ramallah, the de facto Palestinian capital in the West Bank.

Entering before dawn, troops wrenched open the doors of the Women's Union, the Palestinian NGO Network and Addameer, an advocate for Palestinians in Israeli jails, confiscating five computers from the latter group.

The sweeps were the first of their kind in a Palestinian city since the West Bank government won an initiative at the United Nations General Assembly on November 29 which recognized a de facto Palestinian state, stoking tensions with Israel.

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