Israel 'dismantles' Palestinian militant cell, arrests 12

Israel 'dismantles' Palestinian militant cell, arrests 12
Israeli raids and arrests in the West Bank continue as a US diplomatic delegation met Israeli and Palestinian officials to defuse the situation.
3 min read
West Bank
25 April, 2022
Israeli raids have become "part of daily life" say Jenin residents. [Getty]

Israeli forces announced the dismantling of a Palestinian militant cell in Jenin that allegedly planned attacks on Israeli targets, Israeli media reported on Monday.

According to Israeli reports, the cell was formed by six members recruited by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and had trained and prepared explosive devices.

Earlier on Monday, twelve Palestinians were arrested by Israeli forces across the occupied West Bank, said the Palestinian Prisoners' Club.

"Six of the arrested had already been former prisoners in Israeli jails," Ayah Shreiteh, spokesperson for the Palestinian Prisoners' Club, told The New Arab.

"Israeli forces have been focusing lately on re-arresting former prisoners, especially in the past two weeks that witnessed a rise in confrontations between the occupation forces and Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem," she added.

"The number of Palestinians arrested at Al-Aqsa is still unknown," Shreiteh noted. "Also in the West Bank, some arrests that happen at Israeli checkpoints are harder to track, and therefore the total number is likely higher," she stressed.

Earlier in April, the Palestinian commission for prisoners' affairs announced that the number of Palestinians detained by Israeli forces without charges had spiked by some 100 detainees since the beginning of the month.

"This is usual during times of escalation, like the recent weeks we had just witnessed," Shreiteh pointed out. 

The conditions on the ground are still tense. During the early hours of Monday, Israeli forces raided the towns of Mesilyah and Qabatia, near Jenin in the northern West Bank, arresting two Palestinians, after a violent confrontation with local residents.

"Israeli forces came with dozens of military jeeps to Qabatia, after they had arrested a young man in Mesilyah," Mohammad Habash, a resident of Qabatia, told The New Arab.

"Soon after Israeli troops entered the town, the younger men began to throw stones at them. The Israeli troops responded with gunfire, then armed men opened fire at the troops on their way out," Habash added.

"The last time Israeli forces raided Qabatia was twenty days ago, but in the meanwhile, they raided neighbouring towns," he said, adding, "In the Jenin region, Israeli raids, confrontations and arrests have become part of daily life." 

On Thursday, a US diplomatic delegation met separately with Palestinian and Israeli officials in Ramallah and Jerusalem in an attempt to defuse the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Palestinian minister of civil affairs, Hussein Al-Shaikh, said in a tweet on Thursday that Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas told the US diplomats that "Israel must immediately stop its escalation measures in the Palestinian territories" and described the meeting as "clear and frank".

For his part, Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid urged regional leaders "to act and speak responsibly in order to calm the situation" and insisted that "Israel is preserving the status quo at Al-Aqsa", Israeli media reported.