Tuesday at dawn, the Israeli police arrested six residents of the Arab town of
The terrorist, Eden Natan-Zada, staged on board a bus heading to Shfa-Amr, and opened fire at the residents killing four people, including two sisters, and injuring at least nine others. The attack took place August last year.
Israeli sources reported that the arrests Tuesday, in an operation named "Shared Fate" followed 10 months of investigations by a special team in the police northern district.
Three of the arrestees were taken in a pre-dawn operation in Shfa-Amr, involving dozens of police officers. Two others were detained in the south of the country – one in Eilat and one in Kiryat Gat, the source added. The seventh was previously arrested for other charges, the sources added.
The Israeli police claims obtaining evidence linking the residents directly to Nata-Zada’s death, and that a gag order imposed on the entire investigation was lifted following the arrests.
All seven have previously given statements to the police.
The local committee established in the town in the wake of the terrorist attack announced that it will hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday night to decide whether to hold protests over the arrests, including a strike by local merchants and public service employees,
Nazeeh Hayek, whose brother Nader was killed in the attack said that the families of the victims support the detainees since they attacked the terrorist while they were trying to protect themselves and others from his gunfire.
"We know that they did not act out of personal ideology, rather from a sense that they were protecting themselves and others from a murderer," Nazeeh said. "Again, the victim is made into a criminal."
Member of Knesset and resident of Shfa Amr, Mohammad Barakeh, slammed the arrests saying "such arbitrary holdups come to serve the[political right ahead of the cruel massacre by the terrorist Natan-Zada."
Barakeh added that Shfa-Amr residents protected themselves when they realized that the terrorist wanted to kill more people.
Barakeh also said that the Israeli police and security forces have been looking for an alibi to distort the facts and deny the massacre that took place in the town."
The Israeli police said that more arrests will be carried out in the course of the investigation.
Also, Arab member of Knesset, Jamal Zahalka, said that should arrest the accomplices of the terrorist instead of the innocent civilians who defended themselves.
Zahalka added that announced directly after the massacre that Zatan Zada had no accomplices without conducting an investigation in the attack.
After the attack, several extremist right wing groups in welcomed the terrorist attack and considered it legal. The police did not investigate these statements that encourages killing the Arab residents of and the Palestinians.
Also, an Israeli media source quoted an Israeli police officer stating that “he is convinced that the police had political considerations while investigating this case”.
Dan Ronen, head of the northern command at the Israeli police denied any involvement of other parties in the investigation, especially on the political level.