At dawn on Wednesday a large Israeli army force entered the city of Al Bireh near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and surrounded the headquarters of the Directorate of Military Intelligence in the Umm Sharait neighborhood. Troops seized 18 employees, according to Israeli media. The massive contingent of 30 military jeeps was reinforced by armored vehicles and bulldozers according to witnesses. Troops opened fire and threw sound bombs in the vicinity of the headquarters and began seizing employees of the Palestinian security services by threatening to tear the buildings down if they did not submit themselves to abduction.

Palestinian media sources quoted the Director of military intelligence in the West Bank, General Majid Faraj. ‘I believe it is a political and security operation aimed to frustrate the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to preserve law and order and form the unity government.’

The general added ‘it seems that the Israeli government is annoyed by the success of the Mecca agreement and the security campaigns, which we are launching in the Palestinian cities and towns, especially those in Jericho, Hebron and Tulkarem, as well as the campaigns which we intend to launch in other cities including Nablus, Jenin and Ramallah.’

According to Israeli media sources, the Israeli army has confirmed the seizure of 18 people. The Israeli army stated that they suspected these people of involvement in ‘shooting attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers, as well as attempted kidnappings’.