East Jerusalem teenagers held for planning to shoot soldiers

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) – Israeli security forces in Jerusalem arrested eight individuals they described as Hamas operatives who are suspected of planning shooting attack across the city.

The suspects, most of them younger than 18, were arrested last month but the arrests were cleared for publication on Friday, the Israel Security Agency, or Shin Bet, said in a statement.

Residents of the Zur Baher and Sheikh Jarah neighborhoods of east Jerusalem, the suspects had for weeks been scoping potential targets, including Israel Defense Forces bases.

Shin Bet described the suspects as belonging to a terrorist cell which they formed following their release earlier this year from Israeli prisons for violent actions against Israelis, including throwing stones. The same suspects have taken part in rioting in Jerusalem, according to Shin Bet.

Separately, Shin Bet and the Border Police on Wednesday arrested three Palestinians, all of them younger than 18, who allegedly had been planning to carry out a shooting attack against the Ofra military outpost near the West Bank settlement of the same name. The suspects were said to have carried out at least three shooting attacks this past year using home-made weapons.

Some of the suspects’ relatives were also arrested, allegedly for concealing the suspects’ weapons.

On Wednesday, two Hamas fighters were killed when a tunnel between the Gaza Strip and southern Israel collapsed on them.

The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ armed wing, identified the two fighters as Ismail Abd al-Karim Shamali and Rami Munir al-Arair from the neighborhood of Shujayyah neighborhood, Ma’an News reported Thursday.

Local sources told Ma’an that the two men were already dead by the time they were taken to the al-Shifa hospital.

Also on Thursday, 19-year-old Palestinian man was shot and killed after attempting to stab Israeli guards at a West Bank traffic junction.

Israel Police said the man exited a bus that stopped at the Tapuach Junction and approached the Israeli Border Police officers on Thursday morning. When they called on him to stop he pulled out a knife, charged and attacked them, according to the Israel Police.