Soldiers Catch Arab Firebombing Gang Red-Handed

YERUSHALAYIM -
A firefighting plane drops fire retardant during a wildfire, near the communal settlement of Nataf, close to Yerushalayim. (Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)
A firefighting plane drops fire retardant during a wildfire, near the communal settlement of Nataf, close to Yerushalayim, last month. (Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)

An IDF patrol that had been dispatched in order to catch a gang of Arabs who have been attacking Israeli vehicles in Gush Etzion fulfilled its mission early Tuesday, when they caught six members of the gang red-handed. The Arabs were seen stealthily approaching Road 60 near the village of El-Khader, outside Efrat, and after they were apprehended soldiers discovered that they were carrying firebombs that they admitted under questioning were to be thrown at Israeli vehicles. More arrests are expected.

Officials have connected the gang with dozens of incidents of rock and firebomb attacks in the area, and are also investigating if they had any responsibility for some of the fires that hit Israel nearly two weeks ago during a spell of extremely dry weather. Fire officials have so far connected at least one major fire – which occurred in the Judean Hills town of Nataf ten days ago – to a firebomb attack. Several fires broke out that week in the Gush Etzion area, and investigations of those fires are still pending.

Also early Tuesday, soldiers in the Chevron area discovered automatic weapons hidden in the yard of a home in Chevron. The weapons were likely to be used in shooting attacks against Israelis, which have been common in Chevron in recent years. Residents of the home were arrested and taken in for questioning.

Overnight Monday, security officials said they arrested 10 wanted security suspects in other areas in Yehudah and Shomron. The suspects were wanted for participating in rioting and throwing stones and firebombs that endangered Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers. Several of the suspects were also charged with belonging to Hamas. All were being questioned on their activities by security forces.