JERUSALEM (Nov. 19)
Israel launched a crackdown this week on Islamic militants in the West Bank.
Security officials said 12 members of Islamic Jihad had been arrested in the Hebron area and that security forces were carrying out searches in the Bethlehem area.
A number of Hamas cells were still operating freely in Hebron and were under surveillance by Israeli forces, the security sources said.
They added that the Palestinian Authority had been cooperating with Israel in the efforts.
Security officials have been on alert since last month, when Israel received intelligence warnings that Islamic Jihad planned terror assaults on Israeli targets to mark the slaying of its leader, Dr. Fathi Shakaki, who was gunned down last year in Malta.
Islamic Jihad officials hold Israel responsible for the killing and have vowed revenge.
Israel has declined to comment on whether it was behind the shooting.
Israeli security forces recently said that they had arrested two Palestinians who had information on planned attacks against Israel.
The High Court of Justice last week gave the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security service, permission to use physical force when questioning the two detainees.
Security sources said this week that the two had provided helpful information during their interrogations.
The high security alert came as Israeli and Palestinian negotiators continued to seek an agreement for implementing a redeployment of Israeli troops in Hebron.