A young Jewish settler (R) speaks with an Israeli police officer near buildings slated for demolition in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Beit El.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Police detained and released over 15 Israelis on Sunday as they searched the West Bank for the perpetrators of the Duma terror attack on July 31, that claimed the lives of a Palestinian father and son.
Members of the Nationalist Crimes Unit also took part in the arrests, which included raids on two outposts, Adei Ad and Givat Balladim, which are located in the Binyamin region of the West Bank, near the Palestinian village of Duma.
A spokesman for the Judea and Samaria police said information about the detentions was under a gag order and would only explain generally that a number of people had been taken into custody.
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Separately, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Sunday signed two decrees ordering administrative detention for far-right activists Meir Ettinger and Evyatar Slonim, who were taken into custody last week.
Ettinger, 24, is the grandson of far-right activist Meir Kahane and a resident of Safed.
Terror attack in Duma
Both men are suspects, among other things, in the June arson attack on the historic Church of Loaves of Fishes on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, but the decrees were signed due to the suspects’ “involvement in extremist Jewish organizations,” a source close to the defense minister said.
The signature occurred on the advice of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), which is in the midst of a crackdown on far-right figures in the aftermath of the Duma attack, in which two men, believed to be Jewish extremists, torched two Palestinian homes in that West Bank village.
Last Tuesday, Ya’alon signed an administrative detention decree for Mordechai Mayer, who security forces say is active in extremist Jewish activities. Mayer, whose parents are American, is a resident of Ma’aleh Adumim near the capital.
Each administrative detention decree allows the Shin Bet to keep suspects in custody for up to six months without a trial, after which a judge would need to renew the order.
Security sources said last week the order was signed due to Mayer’s “involvement in violent activities and terrorist attacks that occurred recently, and his role as part of a Jewish terrorist group.”
None of the three have been linked to the Duma attack, which killed Sa’ad Dawabsha, 31, and his son, Ali, who was 18 months old. Sa’ad’s wife, Reham, 27, and his son, Ahmed 4, are in serious condition at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer outside of Tel Aviv.
The organization Honenu, which provides legal assistance to Jews accused of illegal right-wing activism, including those involved in hate crimes or terror attacks against Palestinians, charged that the Judea and Samaria police were on a fishing expedition in hopes of finding clues to the Duma attack, rather than acting on specific information.
A spokesman said the group attempted to keep a running list of all the detentions, particularly those that occurred overnight or in the morning, but was unable to keep track of the specific details of every incident.
Two minors detained late Saturday night while they were hitchhiking in the West Bank were only released at 7 a.m., the Honenu spokesman said. He added that the parents were never notified.
Judea and Samaria police raided seven homes in the Adei Ad outpost, detaining two people, one of whom was suspected of involvement in an incident in Hebron, according to Honenu.
The second person, a member of the outpost’s security team, was held on suspicion that he lacked the proper permit to bear arms, said the Honenu spokesman.
His permit was with the head of security for the outpost, said the Honenu spokesman, adding that the man was released early in the morning in the E1 police station, with no way of returning home.
Another seven people were detained when police raided the Givat Balladim outpost, said the Honenu spokesman. They were also released.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Ya’alon have spoken repeatedly of the importance of swiftly finding the perpetrators and bringing them to justice since the July 31 Duma attack, but, to date, no one has been charged.
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