Operation Brother's Keeper entered its 10th day Sunday, as Israeli security forces continued sweeping Palestinian villages in search for three missing teenagers.
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The operation, which was launched in the wake of the abduction of three Israeli teenagers on Thursday night, June 12, is intended to find the teens and their captors, as well as to weaken Hamas, according to Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Ganz. Hamas is believed to be behind the kidnapping.
Since the disappearance of Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Shaer, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, 16, late on Thursday, June 12, there has been no indication as to their fate, nor have any demands been made by their kidnappers.
By Saturday night, 335 Palestinians had been arrested, including about 260 Hamas operatives.
11:19 P.M. The IDF said that during the funeral of 30-year-old Muhammad Ismail Atalla Tarif, who was reportedly killed by Israeli fire, 100 Palestinians reached the fence of Psagot and some of them tried to set it on fire. The settlement’s security coordinator fired in the air and an IDF force dispersed the Palestinians by firing tear gas and stun grenades.
10:12 P.M. Ismail Haniyeh, the vice chairman of Hamas political bureau, challenged Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in his first remarks on what has been going on in the West Bank during the past several days. “The awakening of the youths throwing stones in the occupied West Bank restores the significance of the intifada to its proper status.” (Jack Khoury)
7:30 P.M. IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Moti Almoz tells reporters "I understand we all want to know what happened to the teenagers and in what condition they are in. We will continue to look behind every rock until we find them. We understand the sensitivity surrounding their condition. We are working under the assumption that they are still alive, and the information we have allows for that assumption." (Gili Cohen)
5:22 P.M. Israeli drone crashes in the West Bank. Palestinians return it to the IDF. (Gili Cohen)
5:06 P.M. An officer from the IDF's Combat Engineer Corps' elite unit Yahalom said that "the unit's military action uncovered a number of tunnels in populated areas in the West Bank we didn't know about before. In addition, approximately 10 explosives labs manufacturing improvised grenades and bombs were also discovered." (Gili Cohen)
3:10 P.M. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told MK Zehava Gal-On, head of the Meretz party, that a continuation of the current operation in the West Bank was likely to "incite the territory and plunge it out of control." (Barak Ravid)
3:00 P.M. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined to condemn or apologize for the recent deaths of young Palestinians at the hands of Israeli security forces, in response to criticism levelled by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. "Occasionally there are victims or injuries on the Palestinian side as a result of the self-defense activities of our forces," he said. (Barak Ravid)
2:49 P.M. Defense Ministry will reconsider decision to cut the security detail for the Gaza-vicinity communities, after a Palestinian from the Gaza Strip infiltrated Israel.
8:59 A.M. Palestinian death toll since operation began rises to five: A 30-year-old Palestinian was killed and 11 lightly wounded in clashes overnight Saturday with security forces in Ramallah. Eyewitnesses said the casualty, Mahmoud Ismail Atalla, was on a rooftop when he was shot in the head by a soldier on a nearby rooftop. Apparently, no one noticed Atalla was wounded for a while.
According to reports, the Palestinians clashing with the soldiers were chanting against the cooperation between the Palestinian and the Israeli security forces. Palestinian youth also charged a local police station, and two were reportedly lightly wounded in clashes with Palestinian police officers.
7:20 A.M. Nine Palestinians were arrested overnight by security forces in the West Bank and in the Jordan Valley. Israeli army forces and Civil Administration officers have also raided five civilian sites, linked to Hamas according to the IDF.
6:54 A.M. A Palestinian armed with a grenade was apprehended by security forces near Sde Avraham, an Israeli community near the Gaza Strip. The man was caught by a patrolman from the local security detail. A preliminary investigation revealed the Palestinian infiltrated Israel from the Gaza Strip, after he crossed the border fence to the south of the Strip. He was sent for an interrogation by security forces. A similar incident occurred in November 2012 when a Palestinian wielding a knife crossed the fence, and attacked a woman in her home in Sde Avraham. He was shot to death later by IDF forces.
Head of the Eshkol Regional Council Haim Yellin warned against further incidents and noted the latest case proves the necessity of security coordinators, who are facing redundancy. Yellin said the IDF's decision to make cuts to the security positions is "irresponsible," and said they are needed around the communities "24 hours a day."(Gili Cohen and Shirly Seidler)
6:41 A.M. According to Palestinian news agencies, a 26-year-old Palestinian named Ahmad Fahmawi was killed by the Border Police in the Al-Ein refugee camp near Nablus. An initial investigation revealed the Border Police fired after Fahmawi forcefully charged at them. A senior IDF official later said Fahmawi was mentally unstable. (Gili Cohen)
4:20 A.M. The Israeli Air Force attacked four targets in southern Gaza late Saturday night following rocket fire launched from Gaza, which landed in the southern Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council. The IDF said that it will "not tolerate attempts to harm Israeli citizens or IDF soldiers, and will act against anyone who operates terror against Israel." (Gili Cohen)
12:45 A.M. IDF forces operating in the West Bank have arrested around 330 Palestinians in less than 10 days; some 260 of these are identified as Hamas associates. The operation is intended to find the abducted teens and their captors, as well as, according to Chief-of-Staff Benny Ganz, to further damage Hamas which is viewed as being behind the kidnapping.
The army, together with the Shin Bet security services, have arrested 54 men who had been released as part of the Gilad Shalit swap deal. Of these, 35 are associated with Hamas. After their arrest, security officials said that legal steps would be taken to make sure justice is served, possibly having them serve their full original sentences. This would ensure that they stay in prison for a long time.
So far, according to Palestinian sources, seven of those arrested have been brought before the administrative committee that is examining cases of supposed violations of the conditions set for their earlier release. The IDF spokesman said that “names were presented to the committee after violations of the release conditions. The number of committees that will conduct hearings will be determined later.”
The committee is composed of military judges who will decide on whether the arrested men will serve their full sentences. The military advocate general is the one who presents the cases to the committee, to determine if a violation of the documents signed in 2011 has occurred. The proceedings can take place even in the absence of the detainee or his representative. (Gili Cohen)