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June 23, 2014 4:50 pm

IDF Warns: Ramadan Could be Like Spark to Dry Kindling for Palestinians

avatar by Dave Bender

Arab teen aims slingshot at Israeli security forces in Jerusalem clash (illustration, photo: Dave Bender)

Arab teen aims slingshot at Israeli security forces in Jerusalem clash. Photo: Dave Bender.

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officials cautioned on Monday that the coming Islamic month of Ramadan for Muslims, which begins over the weekend, could serve to ignite an already volatile  situation in the West Bank.

While a senior official said, “we’ve operated in Judea and Samaria for years in parallel with the (dawn to dusk) fasting,” the presence of thousands of troops searching for a trio of Jewish teens kidnapped, Israel says, by Hamas could increase friction with the already hostile Arab populace.

Sweeps throughout the Hebron area, where Israeli intel believes the three are likely being held, and the northern West Bank as part of Operation Brother’s Keeper, have, so far, seen some 300 suspected Hamas members.

“In the coming days we will make decisions about adjusting our activities according to the days of Ramadan,” the official told reporters, according to Israeli daily Ma’ariv.

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During the holiday, which this year lasts from June 28 to July 27, Muslims worldwide abstain from eating, drinking smoking and sexual relations from dawn to dusk. Festive break-fast meals are held at nightfall.

Palestinian violence against Israelis and security forces has often spiked during Ramadan. However, Muslim “fasting will not limit us, and there will not be any restrictions on activity in the field,” the official said. “We have operated in the West Bank for years in parallel to the days of Ramadan.”

Overnight, IDF and Shin Bet security forces arrested 37 Palestinians suspected of terror activities, and searched 80 sites and facilities, according to the officer, and focused their activities northwest of Hebron.

“Forces operating in the area met with limited resistance, the official said , adding that operations in Shechem (Nablus) encountered “friction on a smaller scale”

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