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In nighttime raid, IDF detains 2 brothers of Kiryat Arba stabber

Security forces arrest 13 other Palestinians, as Israel tries to return calm to southern West Bank after spate of terror attacks

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

Security forces on Monday detained two brothers of the Palestinian teenager who stabbed to death a 13-year-old Israeli girl in the Kiryat Arba settlement of the West Bank last week.

The brothers were picked up in the village of Bani Na’im, located just east of the city of Hebron, with the move closely following the arrest of their sister a day earlier.

Last Thursday, 17-year-old Muhammad Tarayrah broke into the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba and repeatedly stabbed Hallel Yaffa Ariel as she slept in her bed. The settlement’s security team quickly arrived on the scene, shooting and killing Tarayrah. But Ariel was pronounced dead a short time later. A civilian guard was also injured in the terror attack.

The next day, as-yet-unidentified gunmen shot and killed Rabbi Miki Mark as he was driving with his wife and two of his children outside of the Otniel settlement near Hebron on Friday afternoon. His wife, Chava, and his 14-year-old daughter were seriously wounded in the attack, while his 15-year-old son was lightly injured.

The children of Rabbi Miki Mark mourn at a service prior to his funeral at the Otniel yeshiva, where Rabbi Mark was director, on July 3, 2016. (Hadas Parush/FLASH90)
The children of Rabbi Miki Mark mourn at a service prior to his funeral at the Otniel yeshiva, where Rabbi Mark was director, on July 3, 2016. (Hadas Parush/FLASH90)

In response to the attacks, Israel placed a general closure on both the Hebron area and on the village of Bani Na’im, Tarayrah’s hometown. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman also revoked the work permits of some 2,800 Bani Na’im residents.

In a series of nighttime raids across the West Bank, the Israel Defense Forces arrested 13 other Palestinians, in addition to Tarayrah’s two brothers.

Four of the suspects picked up by IDF troops have been accused of throwing rocks and taking part in violent demonstrations. Two were arrested for allegedly belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization, while the rest were detained for undisclosed reasons, the army said in a statement.

Muhammad Nasser Tarayrah, 17, from the Palestinian village of Bani Naim was the terrorist who killed 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel in her bedroom in Kiryat Arba on June 30, 2016. (Facebook)
Muhammad Nasser Tarayrah, 17, from the Palestinian village of Bani Na’im was the terrorist who killed 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel in her bedroom in Kiryat Arba on June 30, 2016. (Facebook)

On Sunday, IDF soldiers also arrested Tarayrah’s sister, Lara, for incitement after a short video clip was published on Palestinian media Thursday showing a sister of Tarayrah referring to her brother as a “martyr.”

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the sister who was arrested Sunday was the same one who praised her brother’s actions, but the IDF said the arrest came “as part of dealing with incitement and encouragement of attackers to engage in terrorist attacks.”

Reproduction photo, courtesy of the family, of Hallel Yaffa Ariel, 13, who was stabbed and killed in a terror attack in the settlement of Kiryat Arba, in the West Bank on June 30, 2016 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Hallel Yaffa Ariel, 13, who was killed in a terror attack in the settlement of Kiryat Arba on June 30, 2016 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Muhammad Tarayrah’s father was also detained by Israeli troops on Thursday soon after the attack, according to Palestinian media.

Bani Na’im, and the Hebron area in general, has again emerged as a hotspot of unrest and terrorist activity, as a stream of attacks were carried out or attempted in the area by local residents.

Israeli couple's car after it was struck by another vehicle driven by a Palestinian woman in a possible terror attack at the entrance to Kiryat Arba in the West Bank on June 24, 2016. (Magen David Adom)
Israeli couple’s car after it was struck by another vehicle driven by a Palestinian woman in a possible terror attack at the entrance to Kiryat Arba in the West Bank on June 24, 2016. (Magen David Adom)

On June 24, a resident of Bani Na’im rammed her car into an Israeli couple’s vehicle at the entrance to Kiryat Arba, lightly injuring them, before she was shot and killed by security forces on the scene.

The army credited the uptick in terror attacks to the end of the month-long Ramadan holiday, as well as to the inspiring effect a “successful” terror attack has on would-be attackers, a spokesperson said.

Since October, 35 Israelis and four others have been killed and hundreds more injured in the wave of attacks, though the violence had dramatically waned of late. Some 200 Palestinians have also been killed, some two-thirds of them while carrying out attacks and the rest in clashes with troops, Israeli officials say.

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