Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Israeli crackdown on Hamas

From Times of Israel, 18 June 2014, BY ARON DÓNZIS AND SPENCER HO:

...Israeli forces have been engaged in a widespread crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank since the kidnapping Thursday night of Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gil-ad Shaar, 16 and Naftali Frankel, 16.
According to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, 240 Palestinians, including 180 members of Hamas, have been arrested [51 of whom were Hamas terrorists released as part of the 2011 deal for captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit], and 800 buildings have been searched, including 10 operations against da’wa institutions where Hamas recruits, disseminates information and transfers finances. [The army also raided the facilities of Radio Al-Aqsa in Ramallah and Hebron.]
“Last night’s activities took place across the West Bank,” a senior military official said. “We operated in Jenin, Qabatia and Samaria, Tzurif, Yatta and Samua. In Jenin there was a little friction during the arrests, but the rest occurred without incident. Additionally, we tested the defensive perimeters surrounding Jewish communities in the West Bank and the security fence as part of our efforts to prevent illegal breaches.
“Three hundred thousand people are under curfew ...after eight years of relative prosperity...”
The military source added that out of the hundreds of thousands of citizens in Hebron, “thousands, each of whom support six or seven family members, possess permits to work in Israel. Because of the curfew, they can’t work, and this has a visible impact on the population. With two weeks left before Ramadan, the population’s preparations for the holiday have taken a hit.”
Home Front Defense Minister Gilad Erdan, a member of Netanyahu’s security cabinet, said that Israel is “well aware” of the identity of the Hamas cell that kidnapped the youths.
“The Shin Bet and intelligence officials are interested in investigating as many Hamas operatives as possible to find any leads on the whereabouts of the boys,” he told Israel Radio Wednesday morning. “The end result of any military operation should be the eradication of the Hamas movement.”
...There is a lot of determination and we learn from arrest to arrest,” he said.
... Hamas welcomed news of the kidnapping, and has been held responsible by Israel and much of the international community...
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