Five wanted terror suspects have been arrested in overnight searches conducted by the IDF in a village north of Nablus in the early hours of Saturday.
In a house where the suspects were hiding 10 Kg (about 22 pounds) of explosives were found. An extensive search of the house revealed that the wife of one of the suspects had hidden a hand-grenade under the toddler she was holding in her arms.
The army confirmed that the suspects’ apprehension almost certainly deterred a deadly attack against Israeli soldiers and civilians.
The details of the operation were described in a briefing to Ynet by Lieutenant Colonel Arik Khen: “A brigade was sent on an operation to arrest five wanted Palestinians affiliated with Fatah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, following reports that they possess ammunitions. During our searches we found a suite case loaded with 10 Kg of explosives which was hidden in a wardrobe in the house of one of the suspects.”
General Khen described how the suspect’s wife suspiciously carried a baby, which prompted soldiers to search her. “We felt something wasn’t right. We demanded to search the baby and we found she was carrying a grenade that she attempted to hide under the baby,” he said.
“I can firmly confirm that an attack against soldiers and civilians has been thwarted. We are speaking about a large quantity of explosives found in three-storey building which was badly damaged when police sappers detonated the suitcase,” Khen said.
The IDF general added that “terror activities haven’t stopped a minute” saying that troops are on duty in Palestinian cities and villages everynight.
Eleven Hamas activists were arrested in the West Bank town of Hebron overnight Saturday.
Two Palestinians killed in clashes with IDF
Meanwhile, two Palestinians were killed in exchanges of fire with Palestinian gunmen near the West Bank town of Tul Karem.
One of the gunmen died on the scene. The other suffered from serious wounds and was reported dead in hospital.
While the IDF insisted that the two terrorists carried Kalashnikov rifles and opened fire on the soldiers, Palestinian security officials said the men were unarmed and were killed for throwing stones an IDF jeep that entered the city. The jeep was damaged.
Meanwhile Palestinian officials reported heavy exchanges of fire between IDF troops and Palestinian gunmen affiliated with Fatah military wing, al-Aqsa Martyrs; Brigade, in a village near Jenin overnight.
(Ali Waked contributed to this report)