20 Palestinians arrested by Israel as White House urges Abbas to act against Islamic Jihad
20 Palestinians were taken into custody by Israeli forces in overnight and pre-dawn raids on Tuesday in the West Bank. 12 men, believed to be members of the Islamic Jihad armed wing, were arrested in the towns of Jenin and Qabatiya. Eight other suspected Hamas members were taken into custody in the town of Zurif, southwest of Bethlehem.
According to Haaretz, similar raids will continue in the near future in the towns of Jenin and Tulkarem, in addition to travel restrictions to be imposed on residents of the two towns.
On Sunday, three Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in the town of Qabatiya, including the Islamic Jihad activist whom Israel claimed to be behind the most recent suicide bombing in Israel last Wednesday which left five Israelis dead.
Also on Sunday, Islamic Jihad resumed Qassam rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel. There were no injuries in the attacks.
Since last Wednesday's suicide bombing, Israeli forces have focused their attention on the Islamic Jihad network in Jenin and Qabatiyah, home of Hassan Abu Zaid, the bomber. On Monday, Israel arrested Hamas member Munir Qassam believed to be behind an attack earlier this year which left 10 Israelis dead.
In Washington, White House national security adviser Stephen Hadley said on Monday that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas must crack down on Islamic Jihad members. "Palestinian President Abbas earned the trust of his people when he was elected on a platform of peace this past January. Now the Palestinian Authority must make good on that promise by fighting terrorism," Hadley said in prepared remarks for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee National Summit 2005 in Los Angeles.
"We have made it very clear to him, especially in the wake of the vicious attack in Hadera, that he should begin by acting promptly and forcefully against Palestinian Islamic Jihad," Hadley said.
© 2005 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)