Eight East Jerusalem Residents Arrested for Facebook Threats to Jews

Security forces nab suspects with Hamas and Fatah ties, whose online posts allegedly incited to violence and praised terror attacks.

Yair Ettinger
Yair Ettinger
FILE: A Palestinian cartoon encouraging vehicular terrorist attacks against Jews.
FILE: A Palestinian cartoon encouraging vehicular terrorist attacks against Jews.Credit: Twitter
Yair Ettinger
Yair Ettinger

Shin Bet security service officers and the Israel Police arrested eight residents of East Jerusalem on Sunday night for alleged incitement to violence and terrorism as expressed in posts they wrote on Facebook.

A police spokesman said that some of the suspects were associated with Hamas and Fatah. In recent months, they reportedly shared “images, video clips and inflammatory statements that allegedly urged attacks on Jews and members of the security forces, as well as posts that allegedly incited to and encouraged terror attacks against Jews.”

The spokesman said that the Central Unit of the Jerusalem District Police and the Shin Bet, together with staff at the State Prosecutor’s Office and the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office, had been investigating the incitement on the social networks.

The inquiry revealed found that the suspects had been posting, on Facebook pages under their names, images, statements and video footage that praised the terrorists who perpetrated recent terror attacks in Jerusalem, and also encouraged violence against Jews. Photographs of the suspects holding weapons such as handguns and M-16 rifles were also found.

“These posts drew many comments from thousands of the suspects’ followers on Facebook who cheered on their statements and expressed support, together with posts of pictures and caricatures expressing support for their posts,” according to the police spokesman.

During last the arrests of the suspects on Sunday night, carried out under a warrant issued in advance by the Jerusalem District Court, their personal computers were seized along with mobile devices, detachable media devices, inflammatory materials and an improvised grenade, among other things.

In accordance with the police chief’s policy on taking tougher measures against crimes of incitement and racism, Jerusalem District Police Commander Moshe Edri said: “There is a real potential danger just in the very encouragement of acts of retaliation and violence.”

Edri praised the Jerusalem District Police's Central Unit and the Shin Bet, adding, “The fruitful and professional collaboration between the Central Unit and the Shin Bet resulted in a complex and professional investigation that led to the arrests of the people suspected of incitement to violence and terrorism.”

The suspects, who were being questioned by the police Monday morning, were to be brought to Jerusalem District Court for remand hearings later in the day.

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