Accessibility links

Breaking News

Israel Arrests Jewish, Muslim Militants in West Bank - 2002-11-07

In separate raids on Thursday Israeli forces arrested a Jewish militant and a Muslim militant in the West Bank.

Israeli undercover police have arrested Abdel Nasser Swes, the head of Islamic Jihad in the West Bank town of Tulkarem. He was taken into custody in broad daylight and is now being interrogated for alleged terrorism.

Islamic Jihad is one of several groups that have regularly carried out suicide bombings and is dedicated to Israel's destruction.

In another West Bank town, Hebron, Israeli police arrested Baruch Marzel, a Jewish militant. He is the former leader of the anti-Arab Kach movement, which has been outlawed by Israel.

A resident of Hebron, Mr. Marzel is suspected of assaulting officers during the evacuation of an illegal Jewish outpost in the West Bank last month. He is also suspected of inciting some Israeli soldiers not to carry out orders to force Jewish settlers to leave the site.

Mr. Marzel refused to accompany the police and had to be taken into custody by force. He is due to appear in a Jerusalem magistrate's court for a bail hearing.

Meanwhile, in another West Bank City, Nablus, fierce clashes broke out between Palestinian residents and Israeli soldiers. The fighting erupted after the soldiers demolished the home of Hamas member Firas Fidi.

He is suspected of organizing at least two suicide bombing operations. The first, in June, killed 19 Israelis on a Jerusalem bus. The second, in October, killed three soldiers at a Jewish settlement in the West Bank.

Mr. Fidi, who is on Israel's most wanted list of Palestinian fugitives, remains in hiding.

Israel defends the demolition of homes of Palestinians suspected of organizing suicide bombings by saying it discourages future terrorism.