Palestinian suspect arrested over December shooting

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Palestinian suspect arrested over December shooting

Israeli forces have arrested a Palestinian accused of shooting dead two soldiers in the occupied West Bank last month and alleged involvement in another attack that caused an unborn baby’s death, authorities said.

Assam Barghouti, the arrested man, is accused of shooting the soldiers at a bus stop near the illegal Ofra settlement in Ramallah on December 13, police said.

Two others, including a soldier, were wounded, the army had said at the time.

According to a statement by the Israel Intelligence Agency, or Shin Bet, Barghouthi, 32, was also involved in a drive-by shooting in the same area on December 10, where a pregnant Israeli woman was wounded.

Barghouthi’s younger brother, 29-year-old Salah, who was allegedly behind that attack, was shot dead by Israeli forces during his attempted arrest later the same week.

The Shin Bet said it arrested Barghouti in the Abu Shkheidum village northwest of Ramallah at one of his associates’ houses.

Authorities said they found an assault rifle, ammunition and night-vision devices, which they said meant that Barghouti was planning further attacks against Israeli targets.

According to Israeli reports, the arrest was a joint operation that involved the Israeli army, Shin Bet and the Israeli police.

More than 100 Palestinians have been arrested in a monthlong manhunt, including Barghout’s 17-year-old brother, Mohammed.

Barghouti has spent 11 years in Israeli prisons and was released in April 2018. His father Omar Barghouti has spent a total of 28 non-consecutive years in Israeli prisons following numerous arrests.

On December 21, Israeli security forces took measurements of the Barghouti family home in the village of Kobar in preparation for demolishing it, a policy that has been slammed by international rights organisations as a punitive collective punishment. 

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