Israeli troops arrest brother of suspected West Bank terrorists — report
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Israeli troops arrest brother of suspected West Bank terrorists — report

Soldiers said to warn family to give up Asem Barghouti, linked to Givat Assaf shooting; brother Salih was slain fleeing arrest for Ofra attack; Gaza boats said to come under fire

Israeli soldiers conduct raids in West Bank village of Kobar on December 31, 2018, in search of Palestinian terrorist who committed deadly shooting attack outside the Givat Assaf outpost earlier in the month. (Israel Defense Forces)
Israeli soldiers conduct raids in West Bank village of Kobar on December 31, 2018, in search of Palestinian terrorist who committed deadly shooting attack outside the Givat Assaf outpost earlier in the month. (Israel Defense Forces)

Israeli security forces overnight Friday arrested a West Bank man whose two brothers have been implicated in two recent terror attacks, Palestinian media reported.

Mohammad Barghouti, 17, was detained by troops in Kobar, a village near Ramallah, according to local media.

Israeli defense officials have said Mohammad’s brother Asem is suspected of carrying out a deadly terror attack on December 13 near the Givat Assaf outpost in the West Bank.

Palestinian media said Israeli forces threatened family members that they could be deported to Jericho if they did not give up Asem within days.

Another brother, Salih, was shot dead on December 12 in Kobar as he attacked Israeli security forces in an attempt to evade arrest. He was suspected of having carried out a terror attack near the Ofra settlement three days earlier, on December 9.

Seven people were wounded in the drive-by shooting attack on a bus stop outside Ofra, including a 30-weeks pregnant woman who was seriously injured. Her baby was delivered in an emergency operation, but died days later.

Salih’s participation in the Ofra attack was confirmed by the Hamas terror group.

The day after Israeli forces shot and killed Salih Barghouti, two soldiers were killed in the shooting attack near Givat Assaf — Sgt. Yosef Cohen and Staff Sgt. Yovel Mor Yosef — and two people were wounded, a soldier and a civilian woman.

The gunman immediately fled the scene of the attack toward Ramallah in a car with Israeli license plates and is still being sought.

Asem was set free from an Israeli prison in April of last year after serving an 11-year sentence.

A poster published by Hamas claiming the December 9, 2108, Ofra terror attack and praising the ‘martyr’ Salih Barghouti, posted on Hamas’s official Twitter account, December 12, 2108. (Twitter)

A number of members of the Barghouti family have a history of involvement in terrorist activities.

Meanwhile in the Gaza Strip Palestinian media reported that Palestinian fishing boats were fired upon by Israeli army forces in the south of the territory.

There were also reports of Palestinian farmers east of Khan Younis, in the central Strip, coming under fire.

An Israeli military spokesman said he was looking into the reports. There were no reports of casualties in either incident.

The IDF often fires warning shots at Gaza boats that sail beyond permitted fishing zones. Israel maintains a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip, saying it is necessary to prevent terror groups from rearming and launching attacks.

On Friday some 10,000 Palestinians took part in violent protests along the Gaza border, burning tires and hurling rocks and explosive devices at IDF soldiers.

The army said it foiled two attempts to breach the border fence and responded to the demonstrators with tear gas and live fire in accordance with rules of engagement.

Photos showed several youths trying to climb over the fence.

Palestinian protesters try to climb the border fence with Israel during clashes following a demonstration along the border east of Gaza City on January 4, 2019. (Said Khatib/AFP)

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said 15 protesters were injured by live fire in clashes with Israeli security forces along the border. It also said five medics were hurt, all hit by gas canisters.

Friday’s protests were held at various locations along the border under the banner of Hamas’s ongoing “March of Return” demonstrations.

Since March, Palestinians have been holding weekly “March of Return” protests on the border, which Israel has accused Gaza’s Hamas rulers of using to carry out attacks on troops and attempt to breach the security fence. Hamas, an Islamist terror group, seeks to destroy Israel.

Israel has demanded an end to the violent demonstrations along the border in any ceasefire agreement.

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