The Israel Police arrested 18 Palestinians from East Jerusalem and the West Bank on suspicion of belonging to a group called the "Road to Paradise" on the WhatsApp messaging app. The group was set up primarily to disseminate Muslim religious content and its members had recently become increasingly religious, Jerusalem police sources said.
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One of the members of the group was Ibrahim Mattar, the 25-year-old assailant who carried out a stabbing attack in the Old City of Jerusalem last week in which two border police officers were moderately wounded. Mattar was shot and killed in the incident. The 18 suspects were taken into custody in the course of the investigation of the stabbing attack.
Although police accuse the new suspects of "conspiracy to commit a crime," eight of the eighteen were freed from custody. Sources in the police spokesman's office said the arrests were carried out to foil the group's plans and to disrupt the intentions of others who may have wanted to follow in Mattar's footsteps.