Palestinian Authority security forces have arrested seven Palestinians in connection with the explosive devices that were discovered last week near the West Bank city of Tulkarem, Palestinian sources disclosed on Wednesday.
The roadside bombs were discovered after a Palestinian driver who spotted suspicious objects on a road between the villages of Ilar and Saidah, north of Tulkarem, alerted PA security forces.
PA sappers safely dismantled 12 improvised explosive devices, each weighing between 20 and 30 kilograms. The roadside bombs were apparently intended for use against IDF military vehicles passing the area.
The sources identified the detainees as Mujahed Shadid, As’ad Shadid, Sara’ Raddad, Ahmed Al-Haj, Fadi Raddad, Amer Abdel Ghani and Mohammed Yunis.
The sources said that the suspects are affiliated with Hamas and some had previously been arrested or interrogated by the PA security forces.
The family of Sara’ Raddad said that PA security officers raided their home shortly after midnight Monday. After conducting a thorough search of the house, the officers arrested Raddad without offering an explanation, according to a family member.
“We haven’t been allowed to visit him in prison,” the family complained. “We don’t know anything about the circumstances surrounding his arrest.”
According to the relative, Raddad had previously spent eight months in PA detention for “security-related” offenses. “The arrest of our son is a disgrace for the Palestinian Authority,” he added.
Meanwhile, a committee consisting of families of Palestinians held in PA prisons has launched a campaign to demand the release of the seven men.
The Committee of the Families of Political Detainees in the West Bank said in a statement: “The Occupation is the only party that benefits from such arrests.” The committee repeated its demand that the PA halt security coordination with Israel.
Fathi Al-Qarawi, a Hamas legislator from Tulkarem, called on the PA to release the detained men immediately. The arrest of the seven men endangers their lives because they will now be targeted by Israeli authorities, Al-Qarawi argued.
“Arbitrary arrests by the Palestinian Authority add to the suffering of the Palestinian people and serve only the interests of the occupation,” he said.
A PA security official refused to comment on the arrests.