Shin Bet, police round up 12 suspects with alleged IS links in overnight raids

Arrests take place in Umm al-Fahm, hometown of terrorists who killed two officers in Hadera, and in other Arab cities; official says wave of arrests will ‘intensify’ in coming days

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

The Shin Bet security agency and police arrested overnight Monday at least 12 Arab Israeli suspects with alleged Islamic State ties, a day after two police officers were killed in a shooting attack committed by supporters of the jihadist group.

The arrests took place in the northern cities of Sakhnin, Nazareth and Umm al-Fahm, and in other smaller towns in the Wadi Ara area, police said.

“During searches at [the homes of] a number of suspects, items were seized that could indicate support for the terrorist organization,” police said.

According to law enforcement officials, 31 homes and sites were searched overnight.

The two terrorists who shot and killed Border Police officers Yazan Falah and Shirel Aboukrat, both 19, on Sunday night in Hadera were from Umm al-Fahm.

The two were shot dead by members of an undercover police unit who were eating at a nearby restaurant.

The remand of another five Umm al-Fahm residents, arrested shortly after Sunday’s attack, was extended by 10 days on Monday.

The Shin Bet and police are expected to continue rounding up suspects with ties to Islamic State in the wake the deadly attack, and another in Beersheba last week, also committed by a supporter of the jihadist group.

“The wave of arrests has begun, and it is expected to continue and even intensify in the coming days,” a police official told Channel 12 news on Tuesday.

Police arrest an individual in connection with the Hadera attack, March 28, 2022. (Israel Police)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett instructed security services Monday to hold any terror suspects in administrative detention, without charging them.

According to a statement from Bennett’s office, he said the controversial practice — which allows Israeli authorities to hold suspects without charge and is typically deployed against Palestinians in the West Bank — should be used “in appropriate circumstances in which it is possible to present a proper legal basis.”

In addition, the presence of security forces will immediately be bolstered, with a focus on areas where there is a threat of violence. The ramp-up will remain in place until Independence Day, which this year begins on the evening of May 4.

There is also to be monitoring of social networks to identify sources of incitement and potential attackers, with “appropriate action” taken against them, the statement said.

According to the assessments by defense officials cited by Hebrew-language media, there may be several dozen to several hundred people in Israel who at some point sympathized with Islamic State.

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