Police set up task force to tackle far right in W. Bank

Netanyahu: "Price-tag" attack a despicable crime; 13 military vehicles vandalized by right-wing extremists in Judea and Samaria.

price tag 311 (photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
price tag 311
(photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
Police commissioner Insp.-Gen. Yochanan Danino has set up a special task force to tackle far right elements in the West Bank suspected of being behind a string of recent attacks launched as a response to demolitions of illegal outposts.
The task force will be made up of officers from the elite national Lahav 433 unit and Judea and Samaria police district, police said on Wednesday.
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The radical elements are suspected of "setting fire to a mosque, damaging IDF vehicles, uprooting trees and spray painting graffiti," police added in a statement, referring to recent incidents that have taken place in the West Bank.
The task force will be charged with "reaching those behind the 'price tag' incidents, who are challenging the rule of law through their acts, and to bring them to justice," police said.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday sternly denounced the alleged "price-tag" vandalism perpetrated by far-right elements in the West Bank overnight.
Netanyahu called the actions "despicable criminal acts targeting commanders and vehicles whose purpose is to protect the lives of Israeli civilians in Judea and Samaria." Detectives from Judea and Samaria Police were already at the West Bank IDF base which was the scene of the crimes, and the premier said law enforcement officials would strive to bring those responsible to justice.
Anonymous vandals broke into the Hativat Binyamin army base in Beit El, tagging at least ten military vehicles with the Hebrew words "Price Tag" and "Greetings from Migron." The vandals also punctured tires, smashed car windows, and cut cables.
Forensic officers have also arrived at the base and removed samples from the crime scene.
IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said those responsible for the vandalism were "a reckless, lawbreaking extreme minority."
Chairman of the Yesha Council Danny Dayan on Wednesday vehemently condemned the "price tag" attack on the IDF base and called on the vandals responsible to turn themselves in immediately, Israel Radio reported.
He continued, saying that it was time the security forces start treating instances like this one seriously and bring the perpetrators to justice, according to the report.
The IDF's Military Police has, in the meantime, launched an investigation to see whether the attackers had help from soldiers inside the base.
"We are viewing this unequivocally as a criminal incident," a police spokeswoman told The Jerusalem Post.
The investigation could soon be handed over to the Judea and Samaria police district's central unit, which handles serious cases.
Earlier, the IDF condemned the "price-tag" attack, saying the army and police will work together to bring the culprits to justice.

In an IDF Spokesman's Office statement, OC Central Command Commander Maj.-Gen. Avi Mizrahi said that "directing anger towards military officials in order to deter them from carrying out legal actions decided on by the government and High Court is wrong and deserves severe condemnation."
"I intend, together with law enforcers, to catch those responsible and bring them to justice," Mizrahi said.
Army Radio said the attack was likely carried out by a group, and not an individual, and that the infiltrators may have received help from soldiers in order to break into the base.
The Yesha Council strongly condemned the attacks, demanding the culprits turn themselves in to the police, and that security forces act decisively to prevent such incidents from occurring again.
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni also responded to the incident, saying that "price-tag" attacks are hate crimes and are contrary to Jewish and Israeli values.
She said that these new actions, if carried out by Israelis, are "crossing a red line."
Livni called on law enforcement to do their part to stop such incidents from occurring, and Israeli leadership must come out strongly against such attacks.
The "price-tag" attack occurred after arsonists burned property in a West Bank mosque on Monday, the morning after three homes in the Migron outpost were demolished by the IDF.
At the mosque, vandals spray-painted messages in Hebrew saying, “Social justice for Alei Ayin and Migron” (Alei Ayin is another outpost that was recently demolished) and “Muhammad is a pig." A Star of David was also spray-painted.
The civil administration contacted Judea and Samaria police, which launched an investigation and sent forensic officers to retrieve samples from the building.
Tovah Lazaroff and Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.