Israeli forces arrest 2 senior Islamic Jihad members in West Bank
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Israeli forces arrest 2 senior Islamic Jihad members in West Bank

Shin Bet says terrorist leaders detained for activities within the Iran-backed group, following its threats of missile attacks from Gaza

Palestinian Khader Adnan is greeted after his release from an Israeli prison in the West Bank village of Arrabeh near Jenin, July 12, 2015.  (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed/File)
Palestinian Khader Adnan is greeted after his release from an Israeli prison in the West Bank village of Arrabeh near Jenin, July 12, 2015. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed/File)

Israeli troops arrested two senior members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group in a northern West Bank village early on Monday, the Shin Bet security service said.

In overnight raids, Israeli forces detained Khader Adnan and Tariq Qa’adan in Arrabeh, southwest of Jenin.

The Shin Bet said the two men were arrested “for their activities with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” without elaborating on the nature of the suspicions against them.

Adnan, 40, has long been accused of being a spokesperson for the Iran-backed terror group. He has been arrested several times in recent years and served several prison sentences in connection with his work with the PIJ.

According to the Shin Bet, Qa’adan serves as a senior officer in the Gaza-based PIJ’s West Bank wing.

The arrests came the night after the terror group released a video threatening to attack with missiles that can reach “from the Gaza Strip to Tel Aviv and Netanya.” The detention of Adnan and Qa’adan also followed a recent period of increased tension between Israel and Palestinians over access to the Temple Mount.

In raids elsewhere in the West Bank overnight, Israeli troops arrested eight other Palestinian suspects.

The military said the detainees were believed to be involved in terrorist activities, rock-throwing, and riots against Israeli civilians and security forces.

Israeli soldiers also found and confiscated a locally produced makeshift submachine gun, known as a Carlo, from the village of Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, the army said.

A Carlo-style submachine gun, which was seized by Israeli troops in the village of Beit Ummar in the central West Bank on February 25, 2019. (Israel Defense Forces)

The 10 suspects were handed over to the Shin Bet for questioning.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad group made its threat about missiles reaching Tel Aviv and Beyond in a documentary film, broadcast on Iranian television on Sunday, that included footage of various projectiles, other weapons and missile launches.

The missile in question was made with help from PIJ’s patron, Iran, the group said. The Islamic Jihad, which is the second-largest terror organization in Gaza after Hamas, said the “first missile” it launches toward Tel Aviv will be Iranian-made.

The documentary also included a claim by PIJ that it had developed precision-guided missiles.

“We managed to develop a missile that can reach from the Gaza Strip to Tel Aviv and Netanya,” a PIJ spokesman says in the clip, adding that its range could even extend beyond that.

The terror group already fired Iran-made missiles toward Tel Aviv more than six years ago, during Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012. In the new documentary, it said its engineers had succeeded in renewing its missile arsenal, which was largely destroyed in previous military confrontations.

The group warned it would “surprise” Israel “in response to any crime it makes in the future.”

“The enemy’s act of stupidity against the Gaza Strip and its residents will turn the occupied cities and communities into hell, God willing,” the spokesman said. “The occupation has no place on the land of Palestine. It will either withdraw from it or suffer harmful blows.”

It was an apparent reference to the Israeli military’s response to large-scale protests organized weekly near the Israel-Gaza border, during which many Palestinians have been killed or wounded over the last 11 months, most recently a 15-year-old boy said by Hamas to have been shot on Friday.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, the protests have seen thousands of Palestinians rioting along the border, throwing rocks and explosive devices at Israeli soldiers and trying to breach the fence.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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