Israel Arrests Extremists for Tracking IDF Forces in West Bank

Overnight operation takes place in Jerusalem, settlements of Yitzhar, Itamar, Harsha, and Kiryat Arba; activists: Israel Police has gone mad.

Security forces arrested prominent right-wing activists in the West Bank early Thursday, over suspicions they had been monitoring Israel Defense Forces in the region.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved a series of steps that would crack down on Jewish extremists responsible for recent violent attacks on IDF soldiers and other targets, but rejected a recommendation to label them a "terror group."

Emil Salman

Netanyahu approved issuing administrative detention orders for the Jewish extremists, as is usually done with Palestinians suspected of being a security risk.

Moreover, the prime minister approved trying the Jewish activists in military courts, which would effectively expedite their sentencing and make their punishment more severe.

Early Thursday, a joint operation by Israel Police and Shin Bet forces arrested six right-wing activists, over suspicions that they had gathered intelligence on IDF movements in the West Bank.

The arrests took place in Jerusalem as well as in West Bank settlements of Yitzhar, Itamar, Harsha, and Kiryat Arba.

It wasn't yet clear if there was any connection between these arrests and the recent attack on a West Bark army base.

A person close to those arrested said that "the police have gone mad. They don't have a clue who attacked the Benyamin commander, and anyone who texts about seeing a jeep is being arrested."

Earlier this month, dozens of right-wing activists clashed with police officers in Jerusalem, amid attempts to arrest suspects linked to recent so-called price tag attacks.

Clashes in Jerusalem followed a series of recent violent events involving extremist Jewish activists. Also on Wednesday, a mosque of historical significance in the capital was set alight overnight in another apparent "price tag" attack.

Read this article in Hebrew