Police arrest axe-wielding Palestinian suspected of planning terror attack

Suspect — a 22-year-old resident of Al-Bireh — found with suicide note in his possession; security forces arrest nine Palestinians in overnight West Bank raids

Axe carried by Palestinian suspect arrested by police in the West Bank, May 16, 2022. (Israel Police spokesperson)
Axe carried by Palestinian suspect arrested by police in the West Bank, May 16, 2022. (Israel Police spokesperson)

Israeli police arrested overnight Sunday a Palestinian armed with an axe and carrying an apparent suicide letter stating that he was on his way to carry out a terror attack in the West Bank.

According to police, the suspect — a 22-year-old resident of the Palestinian city of Al-Bireh — was detained after driving around the Tapuah Junction in the northern West Bank for nearly an hour looking for Israelis standing alone in order to attack them.

The suspect was taken in for questioning.

“The vigilance of the police and the pursuit of contact apparently prevented a major attack, we will continue with determination and professionalism together with the other security forces to protect the security of Israeli citizens everywhere and at all times,” said the police commander of the area, Haim Sargrof.

The incident came amid heightened tensions between Palestinians and Israeli forces in the West Bank amid a terror wave that has killed 19 Israelis since mid-March.

A deadly attack in Elad earlier this month saw three Israelis killed and several others wounded by two Palestinians carrying a knife and an axe.

File: Israeli soldiers seen during a raid in the village of Salem, east of the city of Nablus in the West Bank, April 20, 2022 (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)

Meanwhile, security forces arrested nine Palestinians suspected of terrorist activity on Sunday night throughout the West Bank as part of ongoing anti-terror operations.

Suspects were arrested in Tulkarm, Beitunia, Al-Bireh and Yamun, and were all taken into custody for further questioning. In Yamun, Palestinian gunmen fired at Israeli soldiers. No soldiers were injured.

Troops have been carrying out extensive raids in the West Bank in response to the attacks. According to the Palestinian Authority Health Ministry, 31 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops since late March. Some committed violent terror attacks, others participated in clashes with soldiers, while some appear to have been unarmed bystanders.

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