IDF cuts back West Bank arrest raids

Army agrees to keep off Fatah members; will still pursue Hamas, Jihad members.

IDF arrest pal 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
IDF arrest pal 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
The IDF has begun scaling back arrest raids of Palestinian terror suspects in the West Bank, security officials said Monday, in another move designed to help Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. IDF troops operate in West Bank towns nearly every night to arrest Palestinians wanted for activities against Israel. The new decision, which went into effect last week, means every raid requires approval from the senior army command and will dramatically reduce the number of such operations, the security officials said. The move followed an amnesty deal over the weekend that saw nearly 200 armed fugitives from Abbas's Fatah movement sign pledges renouncing terror activity in return for guarantees that Israel would stop pursuing them. The moves mean the army will now be able to concentrate efforts on the Islamic Jihad and Hamas rather than on Fatah members, the officials said. The tightening ties between Israel and Abbas followed the takeover of the Gaza Strip by Hamas in mid-June. Israel and the West are backing Abbas and helping him consolidate his control over the West Bank while trying to isolate Hamas in Gaza. In another step to shore up Abbas, Israel allowed a shipment of weapons for Fatah-allied security forces into the West Bank from Jordan on Sunday, the security officials said. Meanwhile, the army continues to target the Gaza Strip terror infrastructure. Overnight Sunday, IAF aircraft struck two Kassam-launching crews. The army reported that the targets were eliminated.