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May 16, 2022 10:31 am
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Israel Police Apprehend Palestinian Suspected of Planning Terror Attack Using Axe

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

Illustrative: A member of the Israeli forces stands guard at the scene of a stabbing attack at the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, near Bethlehem, in the West Bank March 31, 2022. REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma

Israeli police said Monday a Palestinian man armed with an axe was arrested as he planned to carry out a terror attack in the West Bank.

The 22-year-old Palestinian suspect, a resident of the town of Al-Bireh, was detained for questioning at the Tapuah Junction in the northern West Bank after police forces stopped his car for inspection.

An axe was seized during a search of the vehicle, as well as a suicide letter, in which the suspect wrote that he was on his way to carry out an attack to avenge the death of friends. The man drove around the area for about an hour looking to target Israelis standing alone along the road or at bus stops, according to a preliminary investigation by police forces.

The Israeli police said the terror plot was foiled during operations to “maintain public order.”

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The incident comes amid a wave of deadly terror attacks in recent weeks by Arab Israeli and Palestinian perpetrators in central Israel, which have taken 19 lives since mid-March.

Earlier this month, two Palestinian terrorists were arrested after they murdered three Israeli civilians using axes and knives as weapons in the central city of Elad. Hamas’ Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar has drawn scrutiny for urging Palestinians to carry out terror attacks, including a call to “ready your cleaver or an axe, or a knife.”

Separately, the Israeli army in a joint counterterrorism operation with Israeli security forces and Israel Border Police arrested a total of nine Palestinians suspected of terror activity overnight in a number of towns in the West Bank, including Betunia, Iktaba and the city of Tulkarm.

“Gunshots were fired at the forces and shots were heard in the town of Al-Yamin during the counterterrorism activity in the area,” the IDF stated.

Security forces also operated in the town of Al-Bireh, where five Palestinians suspected of involvement in terrorist activity were detained, the military said. No IDF injuries were reported.

On Friday, IDF Sgt. Maj. Noam Raz, 47, was fatally shot during a raid to capture a Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative in the town of Burqin, near Jenin in the West Bank.

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