Israel arrests former Palestinian militant for ‘terror’

Jerusalem: Israeli security forces arrested a prominent former Palestinian militant and a lawyer on Wednesday in a West Bank raid over “terror” allegations, officials said.

“Zakaria Zubeidi and Tareq Barghout were arrested over their involvement in current severe terror activity,” the Shin Bet domestic security service said in a statement, refusing to provide further details.

The Palestinian Prisoners Club said Zubeidi, the former head of the Al-Aqsa Martyr Brigades militant group, was arrested in a village near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

The arrests come with Israeli security forces concerned over increased tensions in the West Bank after recent scuffles at a Jerusalem holy site and Israel’s decision to withhold tens of millions of dollars in tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority.

Israel is withholding $138 million in tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority over its payments to the families of prisoners, or prisoners themselves, jailed for attacks on Israelis.

Israel is also gearing up to hold elections on April 9.

Zubeidi had faced charges in the past from the Palestinian Authority for taking part in a shooting attack on the residence of Jenin governor Qaddura Musa in 2002.

Musa died after suffering a heart attack during the incident, and Palestinian security forces arrested dozens of people, including Zubeidi, shortly afterwards.

Zubeidi had helped found Jenin’s Freedom Theatre.

In 2011, the Freedom Theatre’s well-known Israeli-Palestinian director Juliano Mer-Khamis was gunned down in Jenin’s refugee camp, in an attack that remains unsolved.