The IDF carried out a sweeping arrest operation Wednesday night in the West Bank, arresting 58 Palestinians suspected of involvement in recent violence, the army said Thursday.
Of those detained, 16 were reportedly activists in the Gaza-based Hamas terror group. Israeli officials said 26 were suspected of “popular terrorism,” a military term for uncoordinated rock-throwing attacks against Israeli vehicles and similar attacks.
The single-night tally is unprecedented in recent years, and follows a sweep on Tuesday night in which 47 Palestinians were arrested.
The Wednesday arrests took place in the Bethlehem, Hebron and Ramallah areas.
“We are engaged in two efforts – defense and disruption,” a military official told the NRG news site Thursday.
“We are in the final weeks of a policy of ‘mowing the lawn,’” the official added, using a military euphemism for periodic offensives meant to lower the level of threat, but which are not intensive enough to neutralize it.
“We understand that arrests and preventing terror attacks are a deterrent tool. Someone who throws rocks should know that in the evening they will find themselves under arrest.”
Meanwhile Thursday, Hamas’s leadership in the Gaza Strip called for another “Day of Rage” in the West Bank on Friday – the third time such a day was called since late September, during which the pace of terror attacks and violent protests usually intensifies.
Israeli security services have expanded their efforts against a wave of terror attacks and violent protests in the West Bank in recent weeks.