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Israeli forces arrest 12 Palestinians in West Bank anti-terror raids

Cousin of Ra’ad Hazem, the terrorist who carried out a deadly shooting attack in Tel Aviv earlier this month, among those reportedly nabbed by Israeli security forces

File: Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, March 29, 2022. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)
File: Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, March 29, 2022. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)

Israeli forces arrested 12 people across the West Bank over the weekend in connection with a spate of deadly attacks inside Israel, the military announced on Sunday.

Israel’s army and the Shin Bet domestic security agency said they had conducted “joint counterterrorism activities” in several West Bank locations, including the flashpoint districts of Hebron and Jenin.

“The forces apprehended a total of 12 individuals suspected of involvement in terror activities over the weekend,” they said.

Palestinian media reports claimed that the cousin of the terrorist who carried out the deadly shooting attack in Tel Aviv earlier this month was among those arrested.

He was arrested in a raid carried out in a village on the outskirts of Jenin in the northern West Bank, the reports said, identifying the man as Ahmad A-Sa’ad, a cousin of Ra’ad Hazem, who killed three people when he opened fire on a busy Tel Aviv bar on April 7.

There was no immediate confirmation from the IDF, which has made several attempts to arrest Hazem’s family members, including opening fire on a car in which his brothers were traveling.

Members of Israeli Zaka Rescue and Recovery team clean blood from the site of a shooting terror attack in Tel Aviv, on April 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Israeli security forces have sought to arrest the father and brother of Hazem for their alleged involvement in the attack. Hazem’s father, Fathi, is a former security prisoner who previously served as an officer in the Palestinian Authority’s security services in Jenin. He has praised his son for the killings and refused an Israeli summons for questioning.

Tensions have risen sharply between Israel and the Palestinians in recent weeks against the backdrop of repeated terror attacks in Israeli cities that left 14 dead.

Some have been carried out by assailants linked to or inspired by the Islamic State group.

Over the same period, 24 Palestinians have been killed across the West Bank, many of whom were carrying out or attempting to carry out attacks, as Israel has stepped up operations in response to the terror incidents.

Illustrative: Israeli police arrest a Palestinian during clashes at the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem’s Old City on April 22, 2022. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

Tensions have further spiraled in recent days following violent clashes between Palestinian rioters and police on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, leading to the injury of dozens of Palestinians and several police officers.

There has also been rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, including two rockets fired Friday.

Hamas and other Gaza-based terror groups have repeatedly invoked the flashpoint Temple Mount holy site as a red line. Police actions to quell riots there last year were among the triggers of an 11-day war in Gaza last May.

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