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IDF detains 4 Palestinians after ‘security alert’ in Beersheba

Soldiers bring in suspects for questioning after finding ax in their car in the southern West Bank

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

Illustrative photo of an ax. (Markus Hagenlocher/Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 3.0)
Illustrative photo of an ax. (Markus Hagenlocher/Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 3.0)

Israeli security forces detained four Palestinian men suspected of planning a terror attack with an ax south of Hebron in the West Bank on Sunday, an army spokesperson said.

Earlier in the day, the Israel Police received advanced intelligence about the threat of a possible attack involving an ax in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba. Dozens of officers were sent into the area to provide additional protection, a police spokesperson said.

Following the “security alert,” troops in the West Bank discovered an abandoned vehicle with an ax inside it near the Khirbat Umm al-Khair village in the Hebron Hills, an army spokesperson said.

Soldiers searched the area for the car’s owners and found four men who appeared to have fled from the vehicle. They were brought in for questioning, the spokesperson said.

Police released an alert to Beersheba residents on Sunday afternoon, encouraging them to be vigilant of suspicious people and objects, but called it off a short while later.

A knife reportedly used by a Palestinian to try and stab an IDF soldier on July 31, 2016 (IDF Spokesperson)
A knife reportedly used by a Palestinian to try and stab an IDF soldier on July 31, 2016 (IDF Spokesperson)

At approximately the same time, a 31-year-old Palestinian man, identified as Rami Awartani, attempted to stab a group of soldiers near the Hawara checkpoint outside of Nablus, before he was shot and killed by the troops, the army said.

There was no direct connection between the two events, “according to our understanding,” an army spokesperson said.

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