Israel Arrests 12 Palestinians After Killing of Settlement Guard

The army 'mapped' the homes of the two suspects accused of shooting dead an Israeli at the entrance to the West Bank settlement of Ariel, a routine practice ahead of home demolitions

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Israeli forces in the West Bank, on Sunday.
Israeli forces in the West Bank, on Sunday.Credit: IDF Spokesperson

Israeli forces raided overnight into Sunday the West Bank village where the two suspects accused of attacking security guards outside the settlement of Ariel live, the military said, arresting 12 suspects.

The army "mapped" the homes of the two suspects believed to be responsible for the Friday evening attack, which left one 23-year-old dead. The mapping is likely to precede demolitions.

The two suspects, Yusuf 'Assi and Yahya Ma'ari, were arrested Saturday.

One person suspected of aiding the attackers was arrested "as part of the mapping operation," the army said. 

In addition to the northern village of Qarawat Bani Hassan, Israeli soldiers also raided several other villages in the area. Forces also confiscated weapons.

The army said that riots broke out in the Jalazone refugee camp in the West Bank, in which "dozens threw rocks" and forces responded with riot dispersal measures.

IDF spokesperson said the army will stay on high alert as it has been since the beginning of Ramadan. 

Yahya Ma'ari (right) and Yusuf 'Assi (left).

The IDF and anti-terror units arrested Yusuf 'Assi and Yahya Ma'ari, both in their twenties, in Qarawat Bani Hassan, after an investigation by the Shin Bet security service. 

The weapons confiscated during the arrest.Credit: Israel Police Spokesperson

The arrest operation occurred at one of the suspects' homes, where both of them were present, according to security sources. Israeli security forces also detained the family members at the scene and confiscated two weapons, which they believe were used in the attack.

Residents of Qarawat Bani Hassan said that Yusuf 'Assi was not known to belong to any political group. However, Hassan Ibrahim 'Assi, the mayor of the town, said that Ma'ari's family was affiliated with Hamas, even though Yahya's own affiliation was unclear. His father Mohammed was imprisoned with Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the founder of Hamas, and even named his son after his close friend Yahya Ayyash, the chief bomb-maker for the Islamist group.

The suspects have been transferred to Shin Bet interrogation, which are trying to establish whether they operated as part of a larger cell and whether there were any accomplices. 

In a statement issued by the Israel Police, Commissioner Kobi Shabtai said the arrest "is a decisive message that expresses the policy of the Israel Police, which operates on all of the fronts and with all of its units, including special forces, to thwart terrorism and arrest anyone who has harmed or who seeks to harm Israeli civilians or members of the security forces."

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