Israel Arrests 3 Palestinians For Planning Attack

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Jerusalem: Israeli security forces arrested overnight three Palestinians in east Jerusalem for allegedly planning an attack against Israelis, authorities said Tuesday.

The three suspects, originally from Nablus in the West Bank, were arrested at the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, the Israeli Shin Bet security agency said in a statement.

The arrest came after intelligence that the three, aged 15, 16 and 23, were planning to carry out a combined attack against Israelis in the upcoming Passover holiday, in Jerusalem, the statement said.

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Three other Palestinians were also arrested overnight by the Israeli military, one in Qalandiya and two others in villages near Bethlehem in the West Bank, the Times of Israel website reported. It was not immediately known what prompted those arrests.

Israeli security forces are on high alert this week in Jerusalem, specifically around the Old City and the Temple Mount site in east Jerusalem, amid the Jewish holiday of Passover, in which many Jewish worshippers arrive at the contentious site, a source of strife between Jewish and Muslim worshippers.

Israeli security forces have also boosted their presence in the West Bank.

Since October, 28 Israelis have been killed in a wave of stabbing, shooting and car-ramming attacks; 200 Palestinians have died in clashes with Israeli security forces or after carrying out attacks on Israelis.

Last week, 20 people were injured in an explosion on a bus in southern Jerusalem. One of the injured died later; he was identified as a 19-year-old Palestinian who was affiliated with Hamas, the Palestinian organization that claimed responsibility for the blast.

Israel occupied the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip territories in 1967, and annexed Palestinian villages in east Jerusalem shortly thereafter, as part of the Jerusalem municipality. More than 300,000 Palestinians live in this area.

Israeli leaders have accused the Palestinian authorities of inciting violence, whereas the Palestinians say it is the result of 49 years of Israeli occupation and the dim prospects of establishing a Palestinian state in the occupied territories.