Human Rights Voices

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Palestinian Authority/Gaza, September 18, 2016

IDF soldiers pelted with rocks during Nablus raid

Original source

Times of Israel

IDF soldiers came under attack during a raid in Nablus early Sunday morning, with residents of the northern West Bank city hurling stones at them, the army said.

The troops were in the city to confiscate tools and machinery used to manufacture weapons. As they carried out their raid, a number of Palestinians began throwing rocks at them, the army said. No injuries were reported.

The rock throwers were caught and handed over to police, the military said in a statement.

The gun manufacturing equipment was confiscated for further investigation, the army said.

In separate raids, soldiers arrested six additional Palestinian suspects, one who is believed to have taken part in violent demonstrations, another for allegedly belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization and four more for undisclosed reasons, the army said.

In recent months, the IDF, Israel Police and Shin Bet security service have been cracking down on the manufacture and sale of illegal weapons, especially the deadly, and dead-simple to produce, Carlo-style submachine gun.

This year, over 30 shooting attacks have been carried out with illegally produced weapons. Israel's security agencies have arrested more than 140 people suspected of being involved in the creation or distribution of illicit arms, police said last month.

Hundreds of illegal guns and nearly 50 pieces of manufacturing equipment have also been confiscated in raids across the West Bank in recent months, according to police.

In August, the IDF and other security agencies carried out the largest operation of the year thus far, raiding seven gun manufacturing workshops and seizing dozens of weapons and pieces of equipment.

The ongoing crackdown has already had an effect on the market, driving up the price of guns Col. Roman Gofman told the Associated Press last month. For example, a crude Carlo-style submachine gun cost around $500 a few months ago, whereas now it can cost upward of $2,500, he said.

Over the weekend, Palestinians and a Jordanian national carried out six attacks on Israeli security forces and civilians, raising fears that regular attacks could return, after several months of relative quiet.

"[The Eid al-Adha holiday] and September are always more susceptible to spikes in violent Palestinian activities," a military official, who asked not to be named, said on Saturday night.

However, he noted, though the attacks over the weekend were "of course a change from recent weeks, we can not currently point to any major change on the ground that indicates it will increase."

In the past year, Israel saw a wave of so-called "lone wolf" Palestinian terror attacks, which claimed the lives of 35 Israelis and four foreign nationals since October 2015. Over 200 Palestinians have also been killed in the past year, with the Israeli army and police saying that most of those killed were attackers or involved in clashes with security forces.