IDF nabs Palestinian cell suspected of shooting at West Bank settlement
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IDF nabs Palestinian cell suspected of shooting at West Bank settlement

Shots fired at Migdal Oz, near Jerusalem, from rooftop in next-door Palestinian town, causing no injuries

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

Soldiers confiscate guns allegedly used in a shooting attack on the West Bank settlement of Migdal Oz from a Palestinian village, on January 2019. (Israel Defense Forces)
Soldiers confiscate guns allegedly used in a shooting attack on the West Bank settlement of Migdal Oz from a Palestinian village, on January 2019. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israeli military this week arrested a number of Palestinian men suspected of carrying out a shooting attack on a West Bank settlement, the army said Friday.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, late last Saturday night the cell opened fire from a rooftop in the Palestinian village of Beit Fajjar at the Israeli settlement of Migdal Oz next door.

The gunshots did not hit anyone in the settlement or cause damage, but a soldier in the area had spotted the incident, the army said.

“The suspects were identified by the soldier monitoring surveillance cameras in the regional brigade’s command center. She notified the troops, who hopped over to the village and started searching,” the IDF said.

“In addition, an investigation into the incident was launched and, in the end, the arrests were carried out in order to thwart the cell,” the army said in a statement.

A military spokesperson refused to disclose the number of people arrested as part of the investigation, saying it was “sensitive.”

The guns allegedly used in the attack were also confiscated, the army said. They were locally produced, makeshift weapons that appeared to be constructed of metal pipes and electrical tape.

“I saw a number of suspects who went up to one of the roofs on the outskirts of the village. A few moments later, I noticed that they had guns in their hands. I tracked them and directed troops to the area,” the soldier said.

Separately, overnight Thursday, the Israeli military escorted hundreds of worshipers to pilgrimage sites in the northern West Bank.

Israeli soldiers escort hundreds of worshipers to Jewish holy sites in the Palestinian village of Awarta in the West Bank on January 11, 2019. (Israel Defense Forces)

According to the IDF, some 450 people were allowed to visit the Itamar and Elazar tombs in the Palestinian village of Awarta.

The military said the prayers at the site “were held as scheduled.”

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