PA arrests 3 missing youths, foils ‘large-scale attack’ against Israelis
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Analysis

PA arrests 3 missing youths, foils ‘large-scale attack’ against Israelis

Trio found north of Ramallah with grenades, sub-machine gun; Palestinian security sources assess they are members of terror group Hamas

Avi Issacharoff

Avi Issacharoff, The Times of Israel's Middle East analyst, fills the same role for Walla, the leading portal in Israel. He is also a guest commentator on many different radio shows and current affairs programs on television. Until 2012, he was a reporter and commentator on Arab affairs for the Haaretz newspaper. He also lectures on modern Palestinian history at Tel Aviv University, and is currently writing a script for an action-drama series for the Israeli satellite Television "YES." Born in Jerusalem, he graduated cum laude from Ben Gurion University with a B.A. in Middle Eastern studies and then earned his M.A. from Tel Aviv University on the same subject, also cum laude. A fluent Arabic speaker, Avi was the Middle East Affairs correspondent for Israeli Public Radio covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the war in Iraq and the Arab countries between the years 2003-2006. Avi directed and edited short documentary films on Israeli television programs dealing with the Middle East. In 2002 he won the "best reporter" award for the "Israel Radio” for his coverage of the second intifada. In 2004, together with Amos Harel, he wrote "The Seventh War - How we won and why we lost the war with the Palestinians." A year later the book won an award from the Institute for Strategic Studies for containing the best research on security affairs in Israel. In 2008, Issacharoff and Harel published their second book, entitled "34 Days - The Story of the Second Lebanon War," which won the same prize.

The three Palestinian youths arrested by PA security forces north of Ramallah on Saturday, April 9, 2016. According to security assessments, they were planning a large-scale terror attack against Israeli targets.
The three Palestinian youths arrested by PA security forces north of Ramallah on Saturday, April 9, 2016. According to security assessments, they were planning a large-scale terror attack against Israeli targets.

Palestinian security forces on Saturday arrested three Palestinian youths who had been missing since March 30, foiling a planned large-scale terror attack against Israeli targets, according to Palestinian Authority sources.

PA forces had conducted intensive searches for the three since they were reported missing.

The trio were found in an open area north of the West Bank city of Ramallah by a joint force of Palestinian police and the Palestinian Internal Security service, according to Palestinian sources who spoke to The Times of Israel.

They had a large quantity of weapons with them, including several hand grenades and a “Carl Gustav” sub-machine gun, and it is believed they were planning an attack, the sources said.

Illustrative: Palestinian police take part in a training session of the Palestinian special police force in the West Bank city of Ramallah in 2014. (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)
Illustrative: Palestinian police take part in a training session of the Palestinian special police force in the West Bank city of Ramallah in 2014. (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

The three were taken for interrogation. According to the Palestinian sources, they are believed to be members of terror group Hamas.

Concerns regarding the three grew on Thursday after the cellphones and ID cards of two of the youths were found near Ramallah, according to Bethlehem Radio.

Palestinian police notified the families of Basel Mahmoud Ala’raj of al-Walaja, near Jerusalem, Mohammed Abdullah Harb of Jenin, and Haytham Sayaj, of Hebron, of the find.

The families said that they had no word about the whereabouts of the three.

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