Israel arrests extremists over army base attack

AFP , Wednesday 28 Dec 2011

Six Jewish extremists arrested on suspicion of attacking an Israeli army base in the West Bank earlier this month

Israeli police have arrested six Jewish extremists on suspicion of attacking an army base in the northern West Bank earlier this month, a spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

Two of them are residents of Karnei Shomron settlement in the northern West Bank, while the other four -- one of whom is a minor -- are from Jerusalem, police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP.

"Six Jews were arrested for attacking the Ephraim base in the northern West Bank," she said referring to an attack which took place earlier this month.

"One of them, who was from Karnei Shomron, was caught in the act and has been convicted" of forcing entry to the base and attacking it, she said. He is now awaiting sentence.

The other five suspects, who were arrested in the past three days, have had their remand in custody extended until Sunday, she said.

The six are only being investigated in connection with the attack on the Ephraim base and not with the ongoing wave of so-called "price tag" hate crimes targeting Palestinians and Arabs, she said.

The attack, which took place overnight on December 12-13, saw about 50 extremists forcing their way onto the base, setting fire to tyres and damaging vehicles with stones, paint and nails.

It enraged the Israeli leadership which vowed to clamp down on the perpetrators.

"Price-tag" vengeance attacks are usually carried out in response to state moves against illegal settlement outposts, but those behind them are almost never caught, let alone prosecuted.

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