Seventy Palestinians illegally residing in Israel were arrested in a raid by Border Police guards and police officers from the Northern District overnight Thursday-Friday.
The forces searched homes, agricultural fields and construction sites — where some Palestinian who live in Israeli illegally reside — in predominantly Arab towns like Shfaram, Kfar Manda and Shibli in the Galilee.
Sixty-seven of those held will be transferred to the Palestinian Authority, Maariv reported Friday morning, and the rest will be brought before a judge for a remand extension.
The operation came two days after an Israeli soldier was stabbed to death while he was asleep on a bus in Afula Wednesday morning by a 16-year-old Palestinian youth illegally residing in Israel, according to reports. Eden Atias, 18, was buried Wednesday night in Nazareth Ilit.
The incident launched another public outcry in Israel over the phenomenon of Palestinians entering Israel illegally, mainly to look for work.
On Wednesday evening before the funeral, some 150 people protested at the Afula central bus station, where the attack took place, against the government’s handling of peace talks with the Palestinians, noting that this was the fourth murderous terrorist attack since US-brokered negotiations restarted in July.
The soldier’s attacker, a Palestinian resident of Jenin who, according to police, did not have a permit to work or reside in Israel, told his interrogators that he sought to avenge two of his family members who are jailed in Israel for terrorist activities. The killer said he was enraged by the fact that his extended family was not allowed to visit his relatives. Reports indicated two of his family members are in jail for convictions related to the murder of Israelis. His father and a brother were reportedly arrested later Wednesday.
In September, IDF soldier Tomer Hazan was lured to a village in the West Bank and killed by a Palestinian coworker, who was working in Israel illegally, according to reports. The two worked at a Bat Yam restaurant.