Alleged terrorist network apprehended near Bethlehem

(JTA) — Israeli security forces arrested and indicted some 30 Palestinians from the Bethlehem area who are suspected of belonging to a terrorist network. 

The defendants were arrested in January and February in Beit Fajar, a village near the Palestinian city, Army Radio reported Thursday following the expiration of a gag order on the arrests.

They were arrested in an operation coordinated by Israel’s General Security Service and are believed to have belonged to the PLO. They are accused of using firebombs and machine guns against civilians from Migdal Oz, an Israeli settlement, the report said. No one was injured in the attacks.

The suspects confessed to the actions attributed to them in questioning, according to Army Radio, and said they intended to carry out more attacks. Their interrogation led to the discovery of weapons caches.

The network leaders were identified as Rifat Mohammed Issa Takatka and Rifat Mahmud Moussa Hissan, who are in custody along with three deputies.

An Israeli military tribunal indicted the men for the alleged production of arms, attempted murder and conspiring to commit crimes.

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