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IDF arrests Palestinian for shooting that it says never happened

Soldiers reported hearing gunfire at a military post in the southern West Bank, but an investigation revealed no shots had been fired

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

Illustrative. Israeli troops walk through the Palestinian town of Halhul, north of Hebron, after a resident stabbed a security guard in a terror attack at a nearby settlement on February 7, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)
Illustrative. Israeli troops walk through the Palestinian town of Halhul, north of Hebron, after a resident stabbed a security guard in a terror attack at a nearby settlement on February 7, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

Israeli troops arrested a Palestinian man in connection with a suspected shooting attack on Tuesday night that the army later said had not occurred.

As of Wednesday morning, the Israeli military could not confirm that the suspect had been released from custody.

Late Tuesday, Israeli troops serving in an army post near the Palestinian town of Halhul in the southern West Bank reported hearing shots fired toward their position.

The soldiers opened fire in response and, following a search of the area, arrested a Palestinian man who was standing nearby, the army said.

However, a further investigation found that no shots had been fired at the IDF post.

“From an investigation and searches in the field, it appears that in fact no shots were fired at the troop,” the army said. “The event will be investigated.”

The false reports of gunfire came after, earlier in the day, a 17-year-old Palestinian pulled a knife on Border Policemen at Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs and was apprehended.

Police said the teen arrived at a security checkpoint at the entrance to the West Bank city’s holy site and was instructed to empty his pockets. Though he complied, a metal detector went off when he passed through it.

Illustrative: Border Police officers stand at a checkpoint near Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs on January 19, 2018. (Border Police)

When policemen told him to lift his shirt, he at first refused, then pulled out a large knife he had hidden on his person and brandished it at the officers.

Policemen aimed their weapons at the suspect and ordered him to put down the weapon. He was eventually subdued without shots being fired, and was arrested and taken for questioning.

Police said they believed the suspect had intended to smuggle the knife into the site in order to carry out an attack.

Jacob Magid and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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