8 Arabs arrested in east Jerusalem for using Facebook to incite terrorism

Shin Bet, Border Police and Jerusalem officers seize suspects’ computers and mobile devices.

Incitement on Facebook page [file] (photo credit: Courtesy)
Incitement on Facebook page [file]
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A joint, protracted undercover investigation between the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and Jerusalem and Border Police culminated in the arrest of eight Arab suspects in east Jerusalem late Sunday night for using Facebook to incite terrorism, police announced Monday.
According to Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, over the past several months the unidentified suspects, some of whom are affiliated with Hamas and Fatah, used the social media site to propagate photos and videos imploring Arabs to attack Jews and Israeli security forces.
Rosenfeld called the ongoing investigation the largest of its kind.
“This was a significant undercover operation, and we will continue to investigate and arrest suspects involved in engaging in this type of incitement via social networks,” he said.
Rosenfeld said the Jerusalem District Attorney’s office worked with the attorney- general to identify the suspects who routinely used their Facebook accounts to praise terrorists who carry out attacks in Jerusalem, and to encourage others.
During Sunday night’s raid, police seized all of the suspects’ computers and mobile devices, Rosenfeld said. In some of the photos extracted from the accounts, which police said garnered thousands of “likes,” the suspects were posing with weapons, including pistols and M-16’s.
All eight suspects were arraigned at Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Monday, he said.
Last month police arrested a male Arab resident of the Old City’s Muslim Quarter for using the Internet to incite violence.
Mahmoud Asila, 32, was apprehended on November 18 for posting photos and videos on his Facebook account calling for running over security forces and encouraging car attacks against Israelis.
A Jerusalem Police investigation revealed that after the November 5 car attack during which Ibrahim al-Akri, from the capital’s Shuafat neighborhood, drove into bystanders killing two and wounding 13 others, Asila posted images praising the terrorist and condemning security forces who shot and killed him.
Like the eight suspects arrested Sunday, Asila posted photos of himself holding guns, police said.
In one screen shot taken from his Facebook page, his background photo shows a picture of a car driving into Israeli soldiers, with the words “run over for the sake of Jerusalem” in Arabic.