IDF Soldiers Arrested Over Link to 'Price Tag' Attacks in West Bank

Detention of 3 soldiers come 2 days after 7 female Jewish settlers were arrested on suspicion of vandalizing army property and damaging Palestinian-owned trees.

Israel Defense Forces spokesman said on Tuesday that three soldier had been arrested Monday on suspicion of involvement in the recent price tag attacks in the West Bank, with two other soldiers arrested as well.

The suspect is a known West Bank activist, who was also recently investigated for forging an official document, in an unrelated case. He is linked to sabotaging IDF vehicles in the West Bank base of the Benyamin brigade, where he served up until two months prior to a price tag attack of the facility.

Price tag - Haggai Ofen - January 26 2010
Haggai Ofen

Military Police officials also arrested a resident of the settlement of Elon Moreh, a yeshiva student who served in the Kfir combat brigade.

The third soldier detained on Monday is from the community of Adi in northern Israel, who is currently serving in Central Command.

Specific suspicions against the two serving soldiers were not yet clear.

The arrests come two days after seven young, female Jewish settlers, six of them minors, were arrested by Israeli police on suspicion of vandalizing army property and participating in an incident last summer near the West Bank settlement of Shiloh, in which Palestinian-owned olive trees were damaged.

In October, Military Police investigators arrested an Israeli soldier following suspicions that he had leaked IDF operations in the West Bank to Jewish settlers.

The soldier, a married man and father of two children, served in the Samaria Brigade's rabbinate and has yet to be informed of the specific charges against him.

Following that incident, Israeli settlers vandalized an IDF post in the Samaria region in a so-called "price tag" attack.

IDF officials called the incident grave and unprecedented, as it marks the first time settlers had carried out a planned act of vandalism against army equipment.

The Yesha Council, which represents West Bank settlers, strongly condemned the act and called on the perpetrators to turn themselves in.