JERUSALEM (Jul. 3)
Masked Israeli undercover units took Palestinian demonstrators in Hebron by surprise this week when they began arresting stone- throwers after first mingling with them.
News reports said at least seven rioters were detained by undercover troops, and that the demonstrations died down following the arrests.
Israeli security forces have stepped up their operations in the West Bank town since Tuesday, when two Israeli soldiers were wounded in a pipe bomb explosion. One of the soldiers remains in serious condition.
The latest wave of violence in Hebron was unleashed after the appearance in the city of leaflets depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammed as a pig.
A 25-year-old Israeli woman, Tatyana Suskin of Jerusalem, was charged Thursday with distributing the leaflets. The prosecutor has asked that she be held in custody until the end of legal proceedings against her.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who condemned the leaflets, has accused the Palestinian Authority of being behind the recent violence in Hebron.
Speaking to reporters before talks with the European Union’s Middle East envoy, Miguel Angel Moratinos, Netanyahu said Israel could not accept violence while running a peace process.
Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai summoned the U.S. and Egyptian ambassadors to Israel, and told them that the government expects the self-rule authority to deal firmly with the unrest.
Also in Hebron on Thursday, a member of a Hamas terrorist cell convicted of the kidnapping and murder of Israeli soldier Sharon Edri, and the murder of 11 other Israelis, escaped from a Palestinian jail, local media reported.
Ibrahim Gheinimat had been detained, along with four other members of the terrorist cell from the Tsurif village near Hebron, by Israeli and Palestinian forces. A sixth member of the cell carried out a suicide bombing at a Tel Aviv cafe in March, killing three Israeli women.
The Palestinian Authority informed Israel of the breakout.