PA detains Palestinian journalist over exposé on Henkin killers
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PA detains Palestinian journalist over exposé on Henkin killers

TV report claims Palestinian Authority collaborated with Israel in arrest of Hamas cell member, reveals name of top security official

Lee Gancman is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Eitam Henkin and Naama Henkin of Neria, who were murdered in a drive-by terror attack near Nablus on Thursday, October 1, 2015. (screen capture: Channel 2)
Eitam Henkin and Naama Henkin of Neria, who were murdered in a drive-by terror attack near Nablus on Thursday, October 1, 2015. (screen capture: Channel 2)

Palestinian journalist and head of Nablus Television, Salim Suweidan, was arrested by Palestinian Authority security forces on Friday, following the broadcast of a piece revealing that suspects in the Henkin murders were in effect handed over to Israel by the PA, local sources said Sunday.

Although it is not clear whether Suweidan actually wrote the piece, or simply authorized its broadcast, he is nonetheless said to be in the custody of PA security forces, and was to be referred to the public prosecutor’s office on Sunday.

The piece in question was an investigative report broadcast Friday about the October 1 murder of Israeli couple Naama and Eitam Henkin in front of their four children, by a Hamas cell. During the piece, freed prisoners and “special sources” revealed to Nablus TV details that they claimed to have heard directly from the perpetrators of the attack.

According to the report, a member of the Hamas cell, Karam al-Masri, was injured in the attack and secretly admitted to a local hospital for medical treatment. Medical staff at the hospital, the report claimed, alerted the PA security apparatus to his presence, and the PA dispatched an investigative unit under the leadership of one Imad Kharraz.

Kharraz reportedly confiscated al-Masri’s mobile phone and placed sentries at the door of his room, in order to control access to him. Once his identity as one of the perpetrators of the attack was verified, Israel sent a special forces unit to the hospital to arrest him.

Footage of the arrest raid was widely disseminated online.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X687UbvwBvE

The Palestinian Authority’s central issues with the report are apparently the fact that it revealed the name of the officer leading its unit sent to the hospital, and claimed that it paved the way for al-Masri’s capture by Israel.

The report also alleged that the Hamas cell did not intend to kill the victims in the attack, but rather shot at the car so that it would stop and they could kidnap the family. The operation went awry, however, when both Naama and Eitam Henkin were killed, and one of the terrorists accidentally shot another cell member in the hand several times.

Despite this, those who met members of the cell in prison told Nablus TV that “they told everyone they were proud of the attack that they carried out in revenge for the burning of the Dawabsha family and to defend Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

Three members of the Dawabsha family — mother Riham, father Saad and baby Ali — were killed after a Jewish terrorist firebombed their home in the village of Duma in July 2015. Only five-year-old Ahmed survived the attack, and he is still being treated in an Israeli hospital for severe burns.

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