Hundreds are detained over illegal weapons in Palestine
The Palestinian government has detained about 200 people, including security officers, in recent weeks in the biggest crackdown on illegal weapons in the West Bank in five years, a spokesman said.
Officials said the campaign is unusual because it targets include alleged vigilante gunmen linked to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement.
Previously, security forces went mainly after armed supporters of rival groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Of the 200 or so people detained since May, just under 100 have been released after surrendering their weapons while the others remain in custody, said police spokesman Adnan Damiri. In all, about 100 guns have been seized, he said.
The weapons round-up was sparked by a shooting in May on the house of the governor of the Jenin district, Kadoura Mousa, who later died of a heart attack. Damiri said suspects in that shooting were among those in detention.
Others are being held on suspicion of illegal weapons dealing, extortion and attacks on security officers, he said.
The operation focuses on the Jenin district, a large area which is under Palestinian control.
There have been several high-profile shootings in Jenin in the past 15 months, including a brazen daytime attack in April 2011 when a masked gunman shot and killed Israeli actor Juliano Mer Khamis, who ran a local community theatre.
This was followed by the attack on the governor’s house in May.
On Sunday, assailants also fired at Palestinian lawmaker Shami Al Shami, of Fatah, wounding him in the leg.