Palestinian man arrested for planning shooting attack
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Palestinian man arrested for planning shooting attack

In raids across the West Bank, IDF soldiers pick up 13 suspects, clash with Palestinians and uncover weapons caches

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Illustrative: IDF soldiers arrest a Palestinian man in the Deheishe refugee camp, near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, on December 8, 2015. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Illustrative: IDF soldiers arrest a Palestinian man in the Deheishe refugee camp, near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, on December 8, 2015. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Israeli security forces arrested a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the northern West Bank on Wednesday for allegedly planning a shooting attack on a military post, the Shin Bet security service said.

As part of a joint operation by the Israel Defense Forces, Shin Bet and Israel Police, Ahmed Abu Rub, 27, was picked up from his home in the Qabatiya refugee camp outside Jenin in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

According to the Shin Bet, Abu Rub had planned to open fire on an IDF checkpoint near the Mevo Dotan settlement in the northern West Bank, and maintained close ties with PIJ officials in the Gaza Strip.

However, the security service would not comment on when exactly Abu Rub intended to carry out the attack, saying the PIJ operative had “just entered his interrogation so there is no more information that can be divulged.”

An M-16 assault rifle, shotgun and hunting rifle discovered by IDF troops in Khirbat Abu Lahm, northwest of Jerusalem, during a raid on August 10, 2016. (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
An M-16 assault rifle, shotgun and hunting rifle discovered by IDF troops in Khirbat Abu Lahm, northwest of Jerusalem, during a raid on August 10, 2016. (IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

In addition to Abu Rub, 12 other Palestinians were arrested between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning in a series of raids across the West Bank, and a weapons cache was uncovered in a small village northwest of Jerusalem, the army said.

Four of the people were arrested for allegedly throwing rocks and taking part in violent demonstrations, one was picked up for reputedly belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization and the rest were brought in for undisclosed reasons, the IDF said.

In one of the raids, Israeli forces clashed with residents of the al-Amari refugee camp outside Ramallah as they arrested a suspect, who was identified as Khalid Matar by Palestinian media.

“Dozens of rioters rolled burning tires and hurled rocks at security forces. In response to the immediate threat, forces responded with riot dispersal means and fired 0.22-caliber rounds toward the main instigators,” an army spokesperson said.

Four demonstrators were injured in the clash, according to Palestinian media. The IDF could not confirm the reports.

The 0.22-caliber rounds, also known as Ruger rounds, are used by Israeli security forces against rioters as the smaller bullets are considered less lethal than the 5.56mm ammunition used in M-16 and Tavor assault rifles.

Ammunition, magazines and other military equipment discovered by IDF troops in Khirbat Abu Lahm, northwest of Jerusalem, during a raid on August 10, 2016. (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
Ammunition, magazines and other military equipment discovered by IDF troops in Khirbat Abu Lahm, northwest of Jerusalem, during a raid on August 10, 2016. (IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

Soldiers from the Golan Artillery Battery, working alongside the Israel Police, found a large stash of guns and materiel in Khirbat Abu Lahm, located just north of Kibbutz Maale Hahamisha, near Jerusalem.

During their search, the troops found a variety of weaponry, including M-16 assault rifles, “Carlo”-style submachine guns, shotguns, hunting rifles, air rifles and revolvers, along with magazines, bullets for the guns, military uniforms and stun grenades, the army said.

Members of the Nachal Brigade’s Granite Battalion also found gun parts, magazines and ammunition in Khirbet al-Aqrabaniya, outside of Nablus, the IDF said.

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